I hope I never lose my sense of wonder. If that makes me naive, then so be it.

Thursday, 22 November 2007


I'm almost done A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. It's one of a series of classics I've been going through, including Notre Dame de Paris (Victor Hugo) and Silas Marner (George Eliot). It's good. Very good. I've always liked Dickens's writing, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and Pickwick Papers being my favorites. Tale has a shadow hanging over the story - one of those stories where the foreshadowing is helped along by one's knowledge of history. The characters are in Paris in 1792, not exactly a safe haven. And I think I can see a nasty but noble end in store for one Mr. Carton.

Dickens can tend strongly toward the over-melodramatic (case in point: The Old Curiosity Shop) but his characterizations are wonderful. From Mr. Jingle to Miss Havisham, the Dodger to Scrooge, Joe Gargery to Pickwick, they are enjoyable to read. Some, true enough, are quite the caricatures, but they are fun nonetheless.

I do love to re-read an old book. It's like visiting with a good friend. You already know them, but each time you visit you find out a little something else. Maybe it's something new about them that you'd not noticed before; maybe something they say reflects on your own life in a new way. Or you can just sit, and be.


Unknown said...

Funny, I despise Dickens. I've only read Great Expectations and The Pickwick Papers, but I found both irritating. While his characterization is definitely strong, you can really see the fact that it was serially written. I always felt like there was a great novel in there if only it wasn't so dragged out.

Oddly, Vanity Fair is one of my favorites, and it was serially written as well!

barb said...

I've been meaning to read Vanity Fair. I'll have to add that to the list!

sue said...

don't watch the movie till after you've read the book. The movie would be hard to understand... leaves so much out.