Rod Stewert once sang that "every picture tells a story", and in no case is this more true than of one Dorian Gray. By now everyone knows that young Dorian makes a childish wish that a beautiful portrait of his should age in his stead, and that he should remain forever young and vibrant, and somehow this wish is granted. What follows is a tale of increasing debauchery and depravity that poison a man's soul, while leaving no visible clue upon his face.
This is not the most entertaining or gripping novel that you will ever read. Far from it, in fact, but the real merits of the novel come not from the action and plot, but from the extremely clever dialogue and the shredding social commentary. (not surprisingly, this novel took a long time to get published, and was later used as evidence against Wilde during his trial for indecency) Wilde takes several shots at the aristocracy, especially their values, as well as art itself, hedonism, and the very concept of morality.
Perhaps the finest aspect of the novel are Wilde's quotes, often through his favorite mouthpiece: Lord Henry Wotton. Henry serves as a goad to Dorian through all of his excesses, and he waxes philosophical upon almost any subject that he can get anyone to listen to. He's wonderful and horrible all at once, and best of all, he doesn't even believe half of what he says. This is definitely a 'classic' novel, and well worth the read. Again, if you're expecting high paced action you'd probably best look elsewhere, but if you're in the mood to think a bit, then chances are you'll enjoy "The Picture of Dorian Gray".