A, A - E, Allgemein, Reviews

Review: A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

1953

Rating: 4 Pfoten

”It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

It rarely happens that a quote from a book haunts me but this one, well, this one does. I finished “A Tale of Two Cities” about two weeks ago, yet I’m still not over the ending. But how could I? After all, this is one of those rare books that keep you thinking even after you finished the last page and already closed the cover of the book.

The most intriguing thing about this all is the following though: I had a really, really tough time getting into “A Tale of Two Cities” when I first started to read it. XD The sentences were too long and complicated and Dickens writing style is lengthy and so full of superfluous words that every editor, no matter the century she/he lives in, would have had a field day crossing them out. *lol*

”O Miss Manette, when the little picture of a happy father’s face looks up in yours, when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!”

So what happened? I can’t explain it, but I think Dickens’s magic happened. At least that’s the only thing I can come up with while I’m trying to explain my sudden love for this book. I mean we have a little bit of comedy in here when three different suitors attempt to ask for Lucy Manettes hand, yet at the same time Doctor Manette’s mental condition is making the situation as serious as it could possibly be.

”What can I do for my friend? No man ever can have been more desirious in his heart to serve a friend, than I am to serve mine, if I knew how.”

Every character in here is either an angel (Miss Manette) or a precious snowflake (Mr. Lorry & Charles Darnay) or it’s bloodthirsty and evil. (Madame Defarge & The Marquis) There is no grey area, well not unless you count Sydney Carton who is by far the most intriguing character in the entire book! I loved him! ❤ Yes, he might have been a drunkard (and I’m pretty sure he suffered from depression) but of all the characters that made an appearance in “A Tale of Two Cities” he’s certainly the most honourable and pure soul!

”It is too late for that. I shall never be better than I am. I shall sink lower, and be worse.”

And this, Ladies and Gentleman, is the true tragedy of this book! That Sydney thinks he’s worth nothing even though he DESERVES THE FREAKING WORLD!!!! Excuse my screaming but ADKFASKDFKASDFKSDFKASD! I get all emotional just thinking about this lovable man! He is worthy, he is wantable, to hell with it, I’m actually going to compare him to my precious boy Adam Parrish now! *LOL* Both of them deserve so much and they are always trying to fit in, to make their life better, yet there’s always something that holds them back. That makes their lives difficult.

”You are a good man and a true friend,” said Carton, in an altered voice. “Forgive me if I notice that you are affected. I could not see my father weep, and sit by, careless. And I could not respect your sorrow more, if you were my father. You are free from that misfortune, however.”

No one notices the struggle he’s going through and a lot of people judge him for his actions. Not outright into his face but behind his back. Truth be told, I think Miss Manette might have been the only person who ever got a decent glimpse at his true character and nature. And this only because he let her see it! Because he loved her and because he wanted her to know that there was a part of him, the part that loved her, that actually was worthy of her love as well. T_T

”I would ask you, dearest, to be very generous with him always, and very lenient on his faults when he is not by. I would ask you to believe that he has a heart he very, very seldom reveals, and that there are deep wounds in it. My dear, I have seen it bleeding.”

But we’re in the time of the guillotine, the time of change, of liberté, égalité et fraternité! And forgiveness and compassion, let alone justice aren’t truly on the agenda. People like the Marquis had no mercy with their subjects and their former servants pay them back in kind. Unfortunately this also means that innocent people, regardless of their actions and their lack of involvement are sentenced to death as well. Casualties in a war that gained momentum way too fast.

And so it happens that the storyline swells to a crescendo that ends in a climax I didn’t expect!

Boy, did that ending throw me! O_o
It was a beautiful ending, tragic, but beautiful, hopeful and sad. And it taught me that Dickens was indeed a great writer. 😉

spoiler

”Are you dying for him?” she whispered.
“And his wife and child. Hush! Yes.”
“O you will let me hold your brave hand, stranger?”
“Hush! Yes, my poor sister; to the last.”

I cried an ocean reading this scene!!! Sydney Carton deserved so much better than that!!! What a noble and gentle and compassionate soul!! What a brave man that gives comfort while he’s going to his death as well!!! I can’t even!!! T_T I just can’t… *cries and ocean again*

4

I really loved this book! Dickens might write long sentences, he might take his time until everything gets into motion but damn, he certainly knows how to deliver a punch line! If you like classics and don’t mind books with a lengthy build-up you definitely should go for this! It was so worth it! XD

”It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.”

2 Gedanken zu „Review: A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)“

  1. I remember loving it when I read it! And yes! My heart broke for Sydney 😭😭 It’s a super depressing book but I think it’s my favorite Dickens book. Somehow the others don’t live up to its emotional depth and nuance? I forgot a lot of it, so maybe it’s time to give it a reread!

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    1. I haven’t read any of his other books yet so I guess I started with the right one. XD And yes, I think the topics that were addressed in it were quite dark indeed. Poor Sydney! T_T I’m still not over it! Happy reading if you decide to go for a reread! 😉

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