I know this is long, but if you've read any of Dicken's books, they're always pretty long.
I adore them anyway, and I just had to say something about Dickens himself.
Book: A Tale of Two Cities
Author: Charles Dickens
Genre: Historic Fiction
Rating: 10/10 I would say 100/100 though.
Charles Dickens has been known as one of the giants of English Literature, if not the only giant of English Literature. His amazing skill in storytelling and his ability to put those stories onto paper in an exceedingly original way, has led him to prevail over not only fellow authors of his time, but authors of today. Even though Dickens himself is gone, his writing is still superior to the writing of the present time. His books are known and read world-wide by everyone who is familiar with, and appreciates good literature.
‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is, I think, the best example Dickens produced throughout his writing career.
Its story has one of the most complex plots, set in the time of the French Revolution, surrounding life, death, hate, love, happiness and the remarkably indifferent attitude some humans exhibit toward each other.
‘A Tale of Two Cities’ revolves around seven or eight main characters, all seeming to emerge from different backgrounds and different mentalities. Nevertheless, every one of them becomes intertwined in a single, intricate and extremely deep plot. The tale starts with a businessman, by the name of Jarvis Lorry, attending to a delicate situation containing a young French-born lady in search of her long lost father, a former prisoner of the dreaded Bastille. The young lady was currently living in England, until the recent death of her mother caused her to discover the existence of a father residing somewhere in the dark corners of Paris. She finds out that her poor father has undergone considerable suffering in his past life and is in a state of delirium, only able to remember the number of his cell in the Bastille. In the first stage of the story, Dickens relates the reunion of father and daughter in Paris, their shift back to England and safety, and the restored mind of the troubled father by the sight of his beautiful daughter.
The narrative then skips five long years-in which time Lucie and her father, Doctor Manette, have prospered-and reopens with the introduction of a certain young Frenchman being tried for espionage in an English court. This man, Charles Darnay, not too long afterwards becomes the adored husband of Lucie Mannette, following his sudden aquittal in court. The aid for this clearance came from an unexpected quarter in the form of a young man with a very intelligent brain, but indifferent and melancholy ways. As the plot deepens, troubling circumstances draw Charles Darnay back to his unfortunate country, soon to be followed by his wife and child, his wife’s loving father, Mr. Jarvis Lorry and the young intelligent man of indifference besides a few other friends of the Mannette family. In Paris, Darnay’s aristocratic bloodlines cause him to be arrested by the new Republic and tried in court. At this trial, Darnay is thankfully cleared through the influence of Dr. Mannette, who holds the fascination of the people by his imprisonment in the Bastille.
Unfortunately, the Republic again arrests Monsieur Darnay, stating that he has been denounced by three ferverent citizens of the Republic, the third person unknown to them. This second trial brings together all the main characters of the story, reveals who the third denouncer is, and ties all remaining separate threads of the tale into a single, tight knot.
Although the story only seems to be about the Mannette family and their associates, its hero is the seemingly unimportant young man of intelligence who brought about Darnay’s aquittal in England. His character is the most complex of them all, and although he at first appears to be melancholy and indifferent at the start of the story, as things swiftly progress, it is through this noble man that a single and great love is portrayed.
The climax of ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is extremely abrupt and unexpected in one light, while in another it seems deeply emotional and romantic; the hero at the center of everything. But, the most remarkable point about the finish to the story is the fulfillment of one of the most famous parables of all time in the greatest yet lowest form. “No one has greater love than to lay down his own life for his friends.” John 15:13
In conclusion, ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ tells how hate can cause suffering for innocent people, how sadness can descend in the most heartbreaking ways, how pride does always come before a fall, how, by realizing the importance of life, one can change one’s ways in the blink of an eye, how wrongs will always catch up with the one who committed them, and how love overcomes all; but most importantly, in this meaningful tale, Dickens illustrates the greatest theme of all - that of mankind’s salvation.