Drama, Historical fiction

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


I heard this book on audible and I send my thanks out to those who made the effort to convert this work of art to be more accessible to people like me. I have always been a prolific but lazy reader. I needed and sometimes still need a book to walk me up through the more difficult parts to come to the core of the story. This is one book that I must have attempted multiple times and even own a copy which probably is in a box with all my old school stuff. Even with regards to this well read narration, I almost jumped ship in the beginning but stuck around because the poetic and heartfelt descriptions caught my ear and made me stick with it.

I am very glad I did ( as is probably evident even at the start of this review) listen to the whole book. I am sure there are very few people out there who may not have heard of A Tale of Two Cities, it may even have been part of the English curriculum for a few.Few though (this included me) might not know much beyond the synopsis of the tale.

This book follows the life of a family through dire straits and happy ones. It talks of relationships both of blood and of the heart. In the very beginning Lucie Manette is reunited with her father, who is in the throes of a nervous breakdown. Dr. Manette( her father) and Lucie were not amongst my favourite characters in the book, mostly because they seemed too good to be true but they play their part in the story. We have as a steady supporting hand in that of Mr.Jarvis Lorry who is a reputed banker(him, I liked better). Charles Darnay, Lucie’s husband has unfortunate connections to the aristocracy in Paris and of course my favourite character of Sydney Carton. It was this latter character that pushed my rating from four to five stars. The depth of this man’s involvement in the otherwise ‘good’ family of Darnay and Manette is what makes this book special.By the end of the book I had goosebumps due to Sydney Carton even though I saw the twists coming! Their lives are tied in with the French revolution and there is a lot of pain and bloodshed before the ending. There are the spectres of the Defarge couple (funnily enough I knitted while I heard the book as does the character of Mistress Defarge) whole add the intrigue into the story. It has a philosophical outlook to both men as well as brief peek into one of the numerous atrocities committed in the name of a greater good.

If you look hard enough, though unfortunately too much effort is not required to draw parallels from that old event to all those pockets of troubles in our own time! I am going to continue to add such classics to my listening list as I progress though my Kindle Unlimited queue.Hopefully I will enjoy them as much I did this experience.It may be hard to get through the introductory phase of the book (as it was written for a time when people had more patience, I presume) but once the story gets going, it is worth the effort.

P.S: Regular readers may notice my tone in the review varies with the type of book I am reviewing, I do not think I do it on purpose. It may just be because I am still in that phase of mind.I wonder if other people do that too? Or do you just have your unique constant voice?

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