Sunday, December 20, 2009

2nd Quarter ORB

2nd Quarter Outside Reading Book Review
A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Chapman and Hall, 1859.
Genre: Historical Fiction

A Tale of Two Cities takes place during the French Revolution. The tale is to describe a place and time of aristocracy, trouble, and everyday life, in London and Paris. It shows the social side to many characters. Charles Darnay, a French aristocrat, living in England is trying to hide his identity as a member of the Evrémonde family. His uncle, Marquis Evrémonde, is arrogant and cruel, and when revolutionaries try and seek him, they find astonishingly that he is murdered. Charles Darnay is to become the new Marquis. Sydney Carton, an Englishman, rather is a wastrel of his life. He chooses to defend Darnay, when he is convicted of treason. Soon when Darnay is executed Carton takes his place confidently.

“Stands as Dickens's most memorable effort to see a world in a very small space; a work short by its nature…yet curiously at its ease among giants.” - PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. “Detailed like everyday life, focused, and simple.”

Because Dickens writes with two narrators, it gives the book an uncommon edge. At times, the narrator is unknown, and sometimes might just be Dickens himself. It is often sarcastic, and sour. It seems, as is its stress after stress, because it all has to happen during a tough time, such as the Revolution. Other characters in the book are protecting Darnay from revolutionaries, and they all get their own time to speak. In the end it all comes together, and wraps itself like a present.

“This universal watchfulness not only stopped him on the highway twenty times in a day, by riding after him and taking him back , riding before him and stopping him by anticipation, riding with him and keeping him in charge.” (302)

When picking up this book, I knew it would have been something of my affection. I say this because; I had done quite some research on books set to the French Revolution. Last quarter, I read The Red Necklace. This book was also set to the French Revolution and that I rather enjoyed very much. I’ve never read anything by Charles before so this was my first and I have got to say his voice was spectacular. Over the top, I was really surprised and it’s a classic, which gives it more reason to discover. I’d pick up a Charles Dickens book any day now. It’s now or never, and I chose now.