A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

July 4, 2014
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Mr. Jarvis Lorry is a businessman for Tellson’s Bank in London. He is called across the sea to France to bring a man and his estranged daughter back together. After years in the French prison, the Bastille, his mind is gone but the sight of his daughter slowly brings him back. Mr. Lorry, the doctor, and his daughter flee back to England to start a new life for the group. When they return to England a man they were traveling with is tried for treason. After they plead and witness in his defense he is exonerated and enters their lives. The innocent man falls in love with the doctor’s daughter and they get married. Then the revolution breaks out in France and the man turns out not to be all he seemed to be. He is honor-bound to return to France and when he does everything goes wrong.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the best of books, it was the worst of books. Charles Dickens’ most famous classic (besides maybe A Christmas Carol) is just that. Not only is the book a perfect representation of the duality of the time but it supports its case in more ways than one. The book gleans into the lives of Victorian Londoners and Revolutionary Frenchmen. Dickens is a phenomenal writer whose style and mastery of metaphors is second to probably none. However, he is a showoff. The book constantly loses track as he begins to describe random and unnecessary objects in stunning detail. His descriptions of loose objects in the story are quite impressive but it detracts from the storytelling constantly. A Tale of Two Cities is sometimes the best of books and more often the worst of books. I struggled writing a summary for the story because it is so helter-skelter. Charles Dickens once stated that A Tale of Two Cities was the best story he had ever written. If this is so I will put off picking up another of his books for as long as possible. It was incredibly slow and boring up until the very end of the book. Thankfully it ended strongly but it was mind-numbing nonetheless. It is written well but it is overdone constantly. A Tale of Two Cities could have been a great book, but it wasn’t. Dickens’ classic does not deserve the fame that it has received.

Favorite Quotation:

The great grindstone, Earth, had turned when Mr. Lorry looked out again, and the sun was red on the courtyard. But the lesser grindstone stood alone there in the calm morning air, with a red upon it that the sun had never given, and would never take away.

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