Mosman Readers

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A Tale of Two Cities / by Charles Dickens

It is somewhat bemusing to me that the book I decided to read on my long journey to Australia is one recommended by another American who has recently visited your shores.  Oprah Winfrey, a great advocate of reading, has picked two Charles Dickens classics to recommend to her admiring followers.  Although A Tale of Two Cities was one title she charged her book club members to read, I picked up a paperback edition at my library in blissful ignorance of Oprah’s endorsement.  My motivation was simply to take an engaging story that would take me far away from the fourteen hours on a crowded airliner, and I couldn’t have done better.  This is Dickens at his best, sketching interesting, sympathetic characters who must deal with despicable villains against a historical backdrop of colorful detail.  I particularly liked the character of Sydney Carton in this story, a brilliant yet flawed attorney who redeems himself with a gesture of self-sacrifice so touching that it brought tears to my eyes.  I read this story without ever having seen a film depiction, or even being sure what it was about, other than knowing it concerned the French Revolution.  That being said, I think I would have enjoyed reading it even if I had known the story because it is so well written.  One of the very best by Dickens, I must admit that Oprah picked a winner (although I question so many of her other picks!)

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