Alex's Reviews > Candide: or, Optimism

Candide by Voltaire
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's review
Jan 11, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2011, reading-through-history, top-100, rth-lifetime
Read from January 13 to 15, 2011

Shattered by the Lisbon earthquake that killed tens of thousands in 1755, Voltaire loses faith in higher order and produces Candide, his furious manifesto declaring that there is no justice in the world, no peace for the good nor punishment for the wicked. "This is the best of all possible worlds," Dr. Pangloss blithely declares while people get raped and disemboweled behind him. The plot is dizzying, hectic and horrifying. "We must cultivate our garden," says Candide finally, exhausted: it's a retreat. Good Lord, I quit. Find me a corner I can control. This is one of my favorite books, in my top five from the 1700s. It's appalling.
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Reading Progress

08/01 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-12 of 12) (12 new)

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message 1: by El (new)

El Sounds very Boccaccio-esque.

If I remember correctly I didn't care that much for Candide. It's been a long time though.

Alex I dig it so far, but I'm only like 20 pages in.

message 3: by Ken (new)

Ken Is this the Dr. Pangloss book? Classics begin to blur over time, meaning characters bump into each other and dive into each others' books on the shelves when I'm not looking....

Alex Yep, this is Pangloss. It was wicked cool, El...actually pretty tremendous.

message 5: by poingu (new)

poingu I'm reading this with my son just now--just got to the Lisbon earthquake. My son is cracking up, especially at the pace of events.

Alex Uh, how old is your son? Ladies seriously get super raped.

message 7: by poingu (new)

poingu Alex wrote: "Uh, how old is your son? Ladies seriously get super raped."

Thanks Alex--he's 16. He's an unusual 16 who likes to read. With a parent.

Alex Oh, okay then. 16-year-olds can handle way more than 40-year-olds like me can, so no worries.

Alex Also, how awesome is it that you get to have book club with your kid? I hope mine comes out that cool.

message 10: by Lise (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lise Petrauskas I'm so glad I finally reread this. I loved it this time but didn't when I read it in French in college.

message 11: by poingu (new)

poingu Alex wrote: "Also, how awesome is it that you get to have book club with your kid? I hope mine comes out that cool."

I would bet on it, but you should start early, is my advice. My oldest child couldn't sit up yet when I saw my mom holding him in her lap and reading him Frog in Love. I thought, wait a minute mom, he doesn't understand that! But he loved it anyway and I felt chastened and we just kept doing it and now I'm still reading to my children, just now Candide out loud to my 16 year old younger son (the other one is a freshman in college).

message 12: by Alex (new) - rated it 5 stars

Alex I'm reading to the thing already, sooooo technically his brain is still smooth and he has no cognitive ability but whatever.

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