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Penguin Classics A Tale Of Two Cities Hardcover – Jul 26 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classic; Reprint edition (July 26 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141196904
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141196909
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 4.6 x 20.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,523 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

“[A Tale of Two Cities] has the best of Dickens and the worst of Dickens: a dark, driven opening, and a celestial but melodramatic ending; a terrifyingly demonic villainess and (even by Dickens’ standards) an impossibly angelic heroine. Though its version of the French Revolution is brutally simplified, its engagement with the immense moral themes of rebirth and terror, justice, and sacrifice gets right to the heart of the matter . . . For every reader in the past hundred and forty years and for hundreds to come, it is an unforgettable ride.”–from the Introduction by Simon Schama --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

illustrations by `Phiz' and other artists --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way-in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER on July 1 2007
Format: Paperback
I will never, the rest of my life forget these two sentences. "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness...." and at closing "It is a far, far, better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known."

Wow, this is not your usual Dickens. No quirky characters with strange names and laugh out loud moments, just a darn good story -- the story of two cities, London and Paris. It is difficult to put the plot into words, but when the book begins you are in London at the time of the American revolution and spies (or suspected spies) abound, and the story eventually switches to France prior to and during the French revolution.

Dickens does a marvelous job (as always) of building his story one step at a time and slowly peeling back the layers one at a time. This is not a put down and pick it up a week later kind of a book, it is very intense and complicated and you have to pay close attention. I was just floored at how he sucked me in with his descriptions of the mobs, terror and the madness of the revolution leading you to a nail biting finish. I admit to holding my breath during those last few pages!

Highly recommended, and well worth the time to discover (or rediscover) an old classic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bill McCullah on June 1 2005
Format: Hardcover
A TALE OF TWO CITIES, by Charles Dickens, is without a doubt one of the great classics of literature. Set in the time of the French Revolution, an unsuspecting Frenchman, Charles Darnay, is thrown into the middle of the revolution as a victim of the vengeance of the revolutionaries. His life is saved only through the hidden kindness of a comrade. This book is an excellent account of the kinds of things that happened in France during the late 1700's. It is truly a soap opera for its time with love, heartbreak, mystery, and joy which is what makes this book one you should definitely read. Also try BARK OF THE DOGWOOD for a jaw-dropping and riveting read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the great mysteries of 19th century literature is how this book got this name. A subtitle might help. Yes, certainly, for the most part, the action in this book takes place in either London or Paris and the contrast between English mercantile society and the French Reign of Terror could not be more extreme. It is a story of contrasts on many levels, it is a tale of marvelous coincidence and psychological insight. The biggest coincidence is the physical resemblance between the noble Charles Darney and the self destructive Sidney Carton. Do you see the contrast? More contrasts? The abusive French aristocracy...Oh, the Evermonds are despicable to the nth degree, and Madame Defarge of the Jacquerie (peasantry)--who bears the biggest grudge in two centuries of literature. Dickens has done an excellent job of showing people from all walks of life interacting, of painting the landscape of the times and telling a very gripping story. As for psychologically insights, consider Sidney Carton...a case study in depression as Dr. Manette exemplifies PTSD. I have seen the video, listened to the tape and read the book. The tape is especially noteworthy as Dickens frequently read his work to make sure he got the rhythms of speech just so. Well, I promised to offer a subtitle. It's somewhat unweildy but here goes: How about-The Reign of Terror, Temple Bar and Lucy in the sky with Diamonds?
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I chose this book to read as I recovered from surgery. I figured if there was ever a time when I would have the patience for a Victorian book that has been dubbed a classic by everyone, this was the time.
I definitely needed the patience. The book begins with the famous line everybody knows, even if they don't know the source: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Unfortunately the book quickly mires down after that. It is not that little occurs; the book is actually full of action, side plots, etc. But it is also overfull of Victorian-era florid prose. The reader gets a full dose of adjectives, but those adjectives rarely add up to a vivid picture.
Also, Dickens is a product of his times and the age-old Anglo-French rivalry is in full evidence in this book. The French people who have spent significant time in England are all good people. The French people who remained in France are uniformly evil. With one exception, the English people, be they drunkards, grave robbers or stuffy bankers are all noble at heart.
However, the ending truly saves the entire book and turns my review from a pan to a rave. The ending is heartrending, beautiful, exciting, and bittersweet. The vivid imagery of people on the way to the guillotine, making their escape, or waiting to watch others be executed makes the picture leap from the page and makes the reader rip to the next page as one page comes to an end.
I therefore recommend that you sit down with this book when you have large chunks of time to devote to it, don't give up on the book after the first hundred or even two hundred pages but keep reading. You will be rewarded.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have been reading this book for a long long time, and I can truthfully say that it is the most difficult book that I have ever read. I spent a whole month reading, and all i could finish was one-eighth of it. That time was no wasted though. Tale of two cities has reminded me of my childhood books, not for the text, but for the way i see the surroundings. A picture book barely describes the setting, but that does not matter, because the pictures show what the setting is like. Tale of Two cities may be a book filled with words, but the words that Dickens writes paints a picture that is just as clear as any photograph. This is definately a book to buy if you have the brains and the time. Don't pick this book up if you don't like puzzles, because parts of it will even confuse the smartest teachers. Gripping story that will drive you to the edge of your seat, if you don't mind going back and reading a passage over and over again. My friends advised meto just read and ignore the parts that i didn't understand, but if I did that , I wouldn't be reading. If you enjoy this book, you should read Great Expectations, which is another great piece of work by Charles Dickens, about a growing boy, out to persue his dreams.
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