Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Review of "Classics Illustrated: A Tale of Two Cities," by Charles Dickens

 Review of

Classics Illustrated: A Tale of Two Cities,  by Charles Dickens

Five out of five stars

Arguably the best item of historical fiction ever written

 Historical fiction is a difficult genre, for the end result is generally known to the reader. The author must either embellish what has happened, interpolate into the unknown or wander from history enough to stay close to the reality. With hindsight, it is easy to see that the French Revolution was going to happen. Over time, the French society had become the poor masses and the small, rich aristocracy that cared little for the poor. It then quickly evolved into a reign of terror, where people were denounced and killed for many real and imagined transgressions. Even the members of the aristocracy that were kind and helpful to the poor lost their lives.

 Dickens captures all of that, starting with one of the best opening lines to a novel ever written. He describes the despair of the poor, the haughtiness of the wealthy and the conflicts that raged and swallowed the innocent and guilty alike. The last line of the novel is also one of the best closing lines to a novel ever written.

 This comic captures the essence of this classic story, serving as a primer for what is a complicated tale involving people in both Britain and France. The novel is both an example of some of the best writing ever done as well as the history of a convulsive time in a country that tore itself apart. It also captures one of the best instances of self-sacrifice ever written, when Sydney Carton faces death by guillotine.

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