There's something delightful about this book. I adore Oscar Wilde's narrative and even his at times puffed up dialogue. Too charming for words. Lord HThere's something delightful about this book. I adore Oscar Wilde's narrative and even his at times puffed up dialogue. Too charming for words. Lord Henry isn't even classically devious; he's perfection in his role as a blase villain, and it's refreshing. He calmly narrates his opinions, which, like a drug or a heavy perfume, deeply affect those who listen, especially Dorian, who is effectively ruined by them. But Henry is ridiculously persuasive.
The book is quite an enthralling exercise in subtle villainy and gradual ruin. I tend to latch onto the mechanics--the art--of how other authors construct conflict, and this is refreshing. I really enjoyed how Wilde handled the story and the characters in a bout of repressed and elegant madness. The ideas that structured it were brilliant, and well executed. The very summary of Dorian's plot is enthralling: A man whose gradual moral corruption is reflected in a portrait? Seriously? How have I never taken a second look at this book?
Because yep, before this year, I didn't know anything about The Picture of Dorian Gray, apart from its title. I have my previous teachers to thank for that, even though I am moderately glad they didn't teach this book when I was in high school. Anyway, needless to say I had to read it after that summary. Summaries usually sound good while the execution in novel form is poor, and there were a few times I was worried, but gah. No, Wilde kept redeeming the story. Dorian is utterly dastardly, and there is something to be said about a protagonist who antagonises himself. How dangerous an exercise this novel must have been in Wilde's time.
So, moral degradation I got, but from the novel's flowery beginning we're a bit misled and don't tend to think, regardless of bad choices in store for our protagonist, that they'll really be all that bad. gah. I was surprised at the extent of Dorian's villainy in a narrative such as this one, and found myself hoping for his death. Its eventual arrival was gratifying, and a fantastic way to end the novel, although I do wish Henry had been able to see the portrait. That Dorian would have exposed his secrets to him as he did Basil; that would've been a crazy scene. Anyway, cripes, this book was really fantastic. 4.5/5. ...more
A quick read that was an exercise in patience; the ending was ultimately unsatisfying after listening to Sarah's family whine and blame a guy who hadA quick read that was an exercise in patience; the ending was ultimately unsatisfying after listening to Sarah's family whine and blame a guy who had absolutely no control over what happened the whole book. Humans are imperfect, and this book is a good yet annoying illustration of the type of people who refuse to forgive such imperfections, yet, were they in his shoes, they would likely demand forgiveness themselves. I understand the emotion that goes hand-in-hand with such unforgiveness and the powerful need to blame someone, but this was just retarded, and all the more so because some people actually act like this in real life. ...more