Read this as a young teen, just found out a film adaptation is being made with actors like Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, so I expect quite a fe...moreRead this as a young teen, just found out a film adaptation is being made with actors like Nicole Kidman and Stellan Skarsgard, so I expect quite a few more people to end up reading it.
But seriously, Dickens finally pulled through for me. I'd read quite a fair few of his novels (Christmas...moreAnd with that a greater tale was never told...
But seriously, Dickens finally pulled through for me. I'd read quite a fair few of his novels (Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and Hard Times) and they all left me feeling as if something unexplainable, and yet essential was missing to make it comparable to a great piece of literature that will not diminish through time.
This was totally different. For once his dreary ongoing passages didn't feel like dreary ongoing passages, written for an extra buck, but flowed well with the story itself and only added further vibrancy and understanding to the tale.
The length is perfect, with enough time dedicated to all significant players in the story for their own character build-up. I certainly will not be forgetting memorable scenes like the storming of the Bastille, the pent-up frustration from years of ruthless treatment of the lower classes eventuating in the flooding of chaos and blood on the most symbolic parts of Paris. It's such a pity that the building no longer remains.
I can't believe how long it took for me to get around to A Tale of Two Cities, one of greatest (if not the greatest, but I need to continue reading Dickens to make my own judgement of this) of such a prolific author.
I recommend it to all, from those who solely read 'high-brow' literature to those who simply want a good read. This has all you can ask for: love intrigue, revenge and retribution, intense chaos and bloodshed, suspense and comedy. You name it, A Tale of Two Cities has it. So why not go and pick it up, every public library system in the developed world should have copies of it.(less)
Orwell certainly took a different approach to documenting the life in poverty than my last read that Zola and Celine depicted.
By no means joyful, you...moreOrwell certainly took a different approach to documenting the life in poverty than my last read that Zola and Celine depicted.
By no means joyful, you were still hit with the absurdity and desolate nature of poverty, but Orwell still offered glimpses of hope. There was humour embedded in his recounts of his fortunes and setbacks, but not alike Celine's where you didn't know if you wanted to cry of laughter or pity.
Relatively simple prose journeying through Paris and London, with an arrangement of certainly entertaining characters that you find when living with the poorest of the poor in some of the largest cities in the world. Certainly worth reading if you're interested in the condition of those in poverty, or if you're interested in taking an event filled ride.
As always with Orwell, there was some highlighting on political aspects, especially in terms of communism with the growing anger toward the continued treatment by the bourgeois of the poor.
His description of the filth, squalor and the crude is more than enough of a reason to read this short fictionalised memoir.
An example of the arguably lighter nature Orwell took to the issue:
"He had a gift for phrases. He had managed to keep his brain intact and alert, and so nothing could make him succumb to poverty. He might be ragged or cold, or even starving, but as long as he could read, think, and watch for meteors, he was, as he said, free in his own mind"
Referring to Bozo, a homeless man whose girlfriend was run over by an omnibus; fought in WW I; crippled from an injury at work; and bound to die a slow death on the streets because of his injured leg.(less)
Three stars for me is pretty low, and it`s disappointing that I am giving it to an author like Orwell. Generally I love his works, they are so diverse...moreThree stars for me is pretty low, and it`s disappointing that I am giving it to an author like Orwell. Generally I love his works, they are so diverse, and yet always serious even in their more comical aspects.
One thing that has been done to death for me, is the struggling artist/author. I have read so many books with this as the main premise that I no longer care, I just do not. Perhaps if this wasn`t regurgitated so much and my exposure to it was minimal, then perhaps I could have dove deeper into Keep the Aspidistra Flying and enjoyed it more than I did. Alas, that was not the case.
His social commentary seemed dryer and didn`t really touch upon anything not already done at the time he wrote it. There`s still some more Orwell for me to check out, like Burmese Days (or whatever it is called) and this `low` ranking hasn`t detracted me at all from continuing on my aim to read everything he wrote that was published.
I`d still recommend it to the average reader.(less)
A must read, and is now sharing my top one position with Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo. It's a pity that this was the only published work by Oscar...moreA must read, and is now sharing my top one position with Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo. It's a pity that this was the only published work by Oscar Wilde.(less)