Miles Zarathustra's Reviews > A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations: Two Novels

A Tale of Two Cities / Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
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Jan 08, 12

Read in January, 2012

"Tale" is a good read, especially the later chapters.

This is a review of "Tale of Two Cities." I have not (yet) read 'Great Expectations.'

I found the first part was somewhat slow and confusing, though still enjoyable. The whole thing seems random and haphazard at first, but it all fits together in the end ... every last bit, though it wasn't until I read the Cliff notes that I was able to piece together how.

The last third or so of the story was in the "couldn't put it down" category. Dickens' perceptiveness of the fickle nature of justice and the plight of the underclasses makes for an engagingly human narration.

I found that keeping a brief list of the character names and the years was quite helpful. Possibly essential. Not sure how I feel about the edition, (a Borders closing sale acquisition) beautifully printed but with no annotations. Annotations do get in the way of the flow of the text sometimes, and I think I got most of what was going on without them. But if your edition has them, that's probably better.

The Cliff notes (available for free online, which I am reading afterward) cleared up several mysteries, but also contain spoilers, so I wouldn't recommend reading them beforehand. Their explanation was essential to my comprehension of the first few pages, filled with rich allusions decipherable only to someone familiar the time current to when Dickens wrote. Although not essential to the plot, nice to have.

I think this one is worth a re-read, now that I understand better the shape of the plot.

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