It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair. . . (7)
–A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Even more than with Great Expectations, I don’t really feel qualified to write this review. But I’ll do my best.
Expressive signs of what made them poor, were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax for the church, the tax for the lord, tax local and tax general, were to be paid here and to be paid there, according to solemn inscription in the little village, until the wonder was, that there was any village left unswallowed. (117)
(Be prepared for lots of quotes!)
A Tale of Two Cities is not as funny as Great Expectations, but books don’t have to be funny to be good and it still made me smile at times! 🙂
. . . and the owl made a noise with very little resemblance in it to the noise conventionally assigned to the owl by men-poets. But it is the obstinate custom of such creatures hardly ever to say what is set down for them. (130)
Charles Dickens is incredibly good at making realistic characters! Their habits, mannerisms, personalities, etc. It’s truly amazing. I noticed that here more than Great Expectations.
‘Bring your chair here, and speak on.’ He complied with the chair, but appeared to find the speaking less easy. (135)
There is also a bit of romance, but it’s handled well.
The main themes are redemption and sacrifice. On the back of my book it said:
Here, too, are all of Dickens’s recurring themes–imprisonment, injustice, and cataclysmic violence, resurrection and the renunciation that makes renewal possible.
It takes place during the French Revolution, and it is rather violent.
Every living creature there held life as of no account, and was demented with a passionate readiness to sacrifice it. (217)
Do you mind that this is mostly quotes? I hope not.
I’m not sure how to tackle the story-line. It’s pretty straightforward, but hard to relate without giving anything away! I couldn’t say who the main character was, either. And there are a lot of characters! The two cities are Paris and London. All of the main (good) characters live in London, but a lot of the book takes place in France.
And one of the characters was named Lucie! #LoveAtFirstSight
Troubled as the future was, it was the unknown future, and in its obscurity there was ignorant hope. (259)
Do you feel like I’m. . . going in circles?
The best books are the hardest to explain! Just go read it. It’s awesome. Emotional though. I found the sixth book that made me cry. (Yes, I’m counting. 🙂 )
‘But try! Of little worth as life is when we misuse it, it is worth that effort. It would cost nothing to lay down if it were not.’ (340)