Monday, June 16, 2014

Classics Club: A Tale of Two Cities

My borrowed beautiful version
This book was amazing! I didn't think I liked Dickens much after reading Great Expectations a few years ago. I don't remember much about that book except that it didn't leave me particularly excited like The Count of Monte Cristo, which I read a few weeks later. But, the classics buff that I am, I had to read A Tale of Two Cities. And now, I am to Dickens what Janeites are to Austen (Charlsens? Dickensians?  I'll go with Dickensians). This book is amazing! Sure, it doesn't have the scope of other Dickens novels (or so I've been told), but who cares???  The plot is lovely, suspense-filled, and too complicated to get into here. (Plus, most people already know it) The characters are memorable. And the writing.... words cannot describe how Dickens masters the English language!! His writing made me want to shout and laugh gleefully!! So pardon my preliminary speeches, but without further ado, a gushing review of A TALE OF TWO CITIES that may or may not have spoilers ;)

Because I said I was going to ;)
I was hooked on this book by the end of the first very long sentence. As I have stated previously and probably will say again, Dickens is the master of the English language! I don't think I've read another author that makes me feel about words the way he does. His sentences are exquisite! The quotes, although rather long to remember, are beautiful. Here are some gems:

“A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”  (I have thought about this so many times!)

“A day wasted on others is not wasted on one's self.” 

It was remembered afterwards that when he bent down and touched her face with his lips, he murmured some words. The child, who was nearest to him, told them afterwards, and told her grandchildren when she was a handsome old lady, that she heard him say, "A life you love.”  *sobs hysterically*

“Liberty, equality, fraternity, or death; - the last, much the easiest to bestow, O Guillotine!”  (my weird sense of humor laughed at this, sorry )

“Perhaps second-hand cares, like second-hand clothes, come easily off and on.” 

Anyway, even if you don't like Dickens, you have to agree that he uses words wonderfully!

Another thing I like is the humor. Now the introduction in my version said that there was not much humor, but I thought there was. Kind of sarcastic, dry stuff that makes you do that sniff thing.

I do this. A lot.

I loved the characters, but you probably already know about those, so let me just mention a few particulars.

First Sydney Carton. How can you not love the man!! He shouldn't be lovable, but he is!! The seamstress!!!

Also Lucie. I love her!! Sure she faints, but wouldn't you faint if you found out your dead father was alive and/or that your husband is sentenced to death?!? She has this quiet strength as she tries to be brave for Charles.

Lorry. "Business, business" This business guy is awesome!! He's a great friend of business that is always helping the Manette/Darnay clan with their business matters. 

The Defarges. Honestly, I didn't know if I was supposed to like the Defarges in the beginning. Dickens seems to be getting your sympathies toward the revolutionaries, and hey, a knitted code is cool! But in the end, she turns into a real villainess! Her husband seems to have a kind heart, so I kinda feel bad for him :( BTW Madame Defarge's death!! Tell me I'm not the only one who didn't see that coming!!

A scarf with text from AToTC!!!

Finally, the ending. I didn't cry (I don't usually), but I did find it heart wrenching. I loved how Dickens kept using John 11:25-26: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me though he were dead, yet shall he live and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die." I don't know if Dickens was a Christian, but he sure sounds like one! I also like the parallel between Christ's sacrifice and Sydney's. It only makes Sydney's sacrifice nobler!

All in all, I loved this book. Seriously, you should read it. I loved it so much that I had to buy my own copy! (I also loved it so much that this blog post took forever to write and is probably not coherent what-so-ever! Sorry.) But seriously, you should read this book!

This meme doesn't really fit, but hey Jack Kelly!!! *cough* I mean Laurie!!!

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