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A Tale of Two Cities (Bantam Classic) Mass Market Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0553211764 ISBN-10: 0553211765

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Product Details

  • Series: Bantam Classic
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Classics (June 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553211765
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553211764
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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

From the Publisher

With his sublime parting words, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done..." Sidney Carton joins that exhalted group of Dickensian characters who have earned a permanent place in the popular literary imagination. His dramatic story, set against the volcanic fury of the French Revolution and pervaded by the ominous rumble of the death carts trundling toward the guillotine, is the heart-stirring tale of a heroic soul in an age gone mad. A masterful pageant of idealism, love, and adventure -- in a Paris bursting with revolutionary frenzy, and a London alive with anxious anticipation -- A Tale Of Two Cities is one of Dickens's most energetic and exciting works.

Customer Reviews

Once I got into it, I found it to be an extremely moving story.
Michael Leahy
What strikes me deepest, besides the unashamed redemption in this book--something Dickens would not get away with in this day--is the power of truth in fiction.
Tracy Groot
Charles Dickens, a very detailed and meticulous author, does a splendid job of developing compelling and fascinating characters.
Matthew J. Fery

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Tracy Groot on July 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm thirty-seven years old, and now I read Dickens. I didn't read this book in high school, and didn't go to college. That I've read it now, and not twenty years ago, is for me due course; I'm a strange one who believes in a time for every book.
What strikes me deepest, besides the unashamed redemption in this book--something Dickens would not get away with in this day--is the power of truth in fiction. The power of parable. This is a book I will ply to my fact-lovin' friends; I will read what they say to get them to read this. Like no other book I've read, "A Tale of Two Cities" will show them the power of story as truth.
It's a far, far better tale than I have read in a long, long while.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Beverly A Ruud on January 24, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read "Bleak House" and "Great Expectations" for fun, and "Hard Times" for class, and having loved all of them, I was expecting that this would be equally good. But no - I ended up bogged down in a shapeless morass of obscure minor characters and plot details. In fact, believe it or not, I ended up going through about ten pages at a time, getting frustrated, and turning it back to reread the end of the chapter "Still Knitting" (some of the finest prose I've ever seen, in spite of its origin).
In short: five, ten, a hundred stars for the characterizations and the wonderful prose! Zero stars for the plot - or, more accurately, for the plot if you read it too quickly. I'm sure that it's comprehensible if you read it nice and slowly.
I'm going to give it another go - maybe I'll enjoy it more this time. All I can say is, TAKE IT SLOWLY, and make sure you catch every detail; reading for meaning is most important here. Just remember that if you tear through it at fifty pages an hour, you're going to miss everything.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story just swept me away. It starts out with a wonderful description of the historical setting, but gradually begins to tell a completely personal story of someone who doesn't really fit into the world that is presented...rather like the reader. In any case, though the outcome of the French Revolution is known, the fate of the protagonists is completely unexpected. Even though I knew the ending, I couldn't help crying at the end, it was so wonderful. I feel sorry for anyone who is forced to read this great book in school and doesn't understand it. Whoever you are, I hope you try reading it again for yourself at some stage. Otherwise you will never know what you are missing! The afterword to this edition is also especially insightful and I enjoyed it very much as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Leis on September 22, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Was Charles Dickens a poet? Conversely, perhaps his structure and style are no longer suited to today's rushed lifestyle, as some reviewers lament. I believe Dickens is one of the most magnificent story tellers ever to put pen to paper, portraying vivid landscapes that are often as vital as his characters in affecting events. Dickens, like Shakespeare, could never be told in TV length segments, or using today's best seller pablum.

'A Tale of Two Cities' is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. The prose is lyrical, the story telling awe inspiring, the tale simply unforgettable. It left a mark on my soul.

I remember my first reading of Shakespeare, and stumbling hopelessly through the pentameter and 'backward' structure. Thankfully a wonderful metamorphosis occurred and somewhere along the way I realized my mind had assimilated both meter and verse, and my unconscious brain was giddy with the beauty of it. I experience Dickens the same way. His unfamiliar style blends into the rich tapestry of his work, adding a depth and clarity that is difficult to imagine without it. And like Shakespeare, we are most assuredly on a journey of wondrous descriptive and emotional insight.

'A Tale of Two Cities' is a definitive description of the French Revolution, although it is a work of fiction. Dickens intricately weaves these momentous, earth shattering events through the lives of a small chorus of individuals, all hoping to cope with a world threatening to devour them at any moment. His strength in describing how each acts within such tumultuous times creates a fantastic story all its own. But Dickens is only getting started. In his own ingeniously inevitable style, he compels events and characters together in a climax of towering suspense.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gooseberry on November 14, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book when I was in the 12th grade. I think I read the first three chapters and then used Cliff Notes for the rest. I then read it again (or for the first time to be more accurate) five or six years later. Wow, what a difference. I am still blown away at how stupid I was to not recognize how good Dickens is.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 13, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
this is dickens' most emotionally powerful novel. the final scene on the scaffold is one of the few times dickens elicits the tears without doing violence to the reader's sensibilities. the tears flow naturally and willingly. the story is nicely structured, and there are no wasted subplots, characters, or even words: everything works towards the single end of telling the story of people swept up in the destructive wave of the french revolution. the greatest achievement, though, is the unyielding atmosphere of disquiet transformed to terror that overhangs the whole book. dickens was always supremely good at creating atmosphere, or "mood", but TOTC is his greatest sustained effort. (that it's also one of his shortest books might have something to do with that!)
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