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Brilliant, witty and clever: you'll laugh so hard at Candide,
This review is from: Candide (A Norton Critical Edition) (Paperback)
Candide is another one of those books I wish I'd been forced to read at some point in my education, whether in my comparative literature classes in high school (which as previously mentioned, wasn't very comparative if the teacher didn't care for the author) or in one of my several philosophy classes in university. Either way, it's been on my list of books to read for ages now, and seeing as David had it on a shelf, unread and lonely, I decided to pick it up and give it a go.
Candide is a fast read, something that I was three-quarters of the way through after my commute on Monday (thirty-five minutes each way) and finished after another half-hour of light reading this afternoon after returning from the doctor's surgery. The only real way to describe it is to imagine what would happen if Camus travelled back in time and decided to write a book with Swift. Candide is funny, sarcastic, satirical, and incredibly entertaining, which is surprising considering I didn't exactly have the best translation in the world at my disposal. It's the story of a young and naïve servant to a nobleman and how his journey in life, most of which is taken up with seeking after his unrequited love, is filled with sadness and joy, and how his outlook determines the course of his action.
Like most satirists, Voltaire did not stop to consider friends or enemies: he took shots at everyone from the Catholic clergy to Protestants and even his own philosophers who continue to espouse beliefs even after they no longer believe in them because "it is the proper thing to do." Brilliant, witty, and clever, this is probably one of my new favourite satirical works, right up there with "A Modest Proposal." It's definitely not something that would be enjoyed in a required university class, but anyone who's studied comparative religion or philosophy, or is at least familiar with the absurdities in all philosophical systems, should enjoy this book.