Charles Dickens's classic of the French Revolution is expertly dramatized by Simon Vance. It's also a grand romance. Charles Darnay, the French émigré who relinquishes his title in disgust at the poverty wrought upon the peasants by the titled class, and Sydney Carton, the world-weary drunken London barrister, both love Lucie, the daughter of the unjustly imprisoned Dr. Alexandre Manette. Vance will have listeners weeping as Carton greets Madame Guillotine with some of the most famous lines in literature. Carton's depression and ultimate redemption are crystal clear; Madame Defarge, with her clicking knitting needles, takes on appropriate menace; and Jarvis Lorry, the reliable "man of business," loves Lucie as if she were his daughter.
This novel provides a highly charged examination of human suffering and human sacrifice, private experience and public history, during the French Revolution.
A Tale of Two Cities is one of Charles Dickens's most exciting novels. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, it tells the story of a family threatened by the terrible events of the past. Doctor Manette was wrongly imprisoned in the Bastille for 18 years without trial by the aristocratic authorities. Finally released, he is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, who despite her French ancestry has been brought up in London. Lucie falls in love with Charles Darnay, another expatriate, who has abandoned wealth and a title in France because of his political convictions. When revolution breaks out in Paris, Darnay returns to the city to help an old family servant, but there he is arrested because of the crimes committed by his relations. His wife, Lucie, their young daughter, and her aged father follow him across the channel, thus putting all their lives in danger.
©1923 Public Domain; (P)2008 Tantor
This is the best audio book I have listened to so far. Simon Vance is a master reader and his subject material is well written. The unlikely hero Sidney Carton is believable and likeable. You really get a feeling for the build up of the revolution and the effects on all stratas of society.
Sad and glad ending at the same time.
I have just finished listening to The Man In the Iron Mask. While the themes are different and Charles Dickens story is more moralistic it was good to follow up a novel of Louis the IV with France 2 generations later.
Simon Vance read the Man In the Iron Mask and I was so impressed by this reading that I looked for other books read by him. He is very good at creating substantial differences between characters.
This book moved me greatly. There is humour but the storylines of people imprisoned brought home the horror of the situation-Dr Manette in the Bastille. Charles Darney in the Concierge and the nobleness of the unlikely hero Sidney Carton.
I Highly recommend this book
It's been decades since I read this book, and honestly, it had become conflated in my memory with all the other books, movies and biographies I have read from the time of the French Revolution. Literary types will tell you this is not 'Dicken's best work'-- but it's darn good... and though completely predictable it's worth revisiting if you haven't read it as an adult.
I like Charles Dickens books! But this one was particularly hard for me to keep up with. I would keep getting lost, keeping up with the characters was hard. This book might be one of those that I might need to read on paper.
I loved the language! It was beautiful and inspiring to hear the English language crafted and employed so expertly.
The story is really good too! Set in the time of the French Revolution, the plot has an array of memorable characters brought to life with the writers amazing linguistic virtuosity. And there is an incredible story that begins to pull you in and leave you desperate to read the next part and find out what happens.
Also notable are the philosophical and spiritual stirrings which tie everything together towards the end of the story. These seem to offer ideas of religious and cosmic scale. They seem to contain great truths about history and about humankind and about the unknown and unknowable dimensions.
This book is phenomenal if you like language, and how words sound. And it's just excellent fiction.
Read it. You'll love it!
My first real classical listen was The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas got me hooked on classics. Two Cities required my profound attention to follow. I found myself rewinding constantly. I listen while driving on highways.
To be clear I am not dissing the book. I gave it 5 stars across the board based strictly off the reputation. The narrator was excellent.The book went back. I would enjoy this book more in print than audio.
This is a wonderful classic which vividly brings out the conditions in France just before the revolution.
The one thing which clearly comes out of the story amidst all the deep shades of good and evil is the human side - their capacity to do both good and evil, to rise up in love and stoop down in malice - the author has beautifully shown how both co-exist.
The scene where Sidney Carton kisses the child of Lucy and murmurs his expectation to be remembered by the family just before leaving brought tears to my eyes.
This is a pretty long book, and not of the type where you don't want to leave it wondering what will happen next. Moreover, I had read the book, so knew the story. This is a pure classic where you move along the narration at at an easy pace, and pick up seamlessly from where you stopped last time.
This has been the most satisfying experience I've had with audio books so far. The others were good, but so far this has been the best.
The language is compelling and thought provoking. Dickens weaves an amazing story fleshing out all the characters to the fullest, arriving finally to a perfect finish.
I have not listened to Simon Vance before. The voice he gives to each character is perfect, well delivered, and perfectly timed. I'm sure to listen to him again.
The book surprised me. It's been quite a while since I've felt such a large variety of different emotions in a single book. Charles Dickens creates so believable a set of characters and situations that I found myself hoping and fearing for them often. Just fiction, but such a display of the human condition that I could identify with the many truths behind the fiction, and so felt real grief and hope and love.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
Yes, this is a classic and in this day and time with income inequality getting further apart this book is pertinent today. Don't pass this one up.
The first chapter and the last paragraphs are my favorites!
He has the voice that draws you in and makes you hold your breath while he tells the story of the French Revolution and the extremes that happen when people are ignored. He is a master!
This is a great cry! Sidney Carton is one of those antiheroes that you love, who breaks your heart by being the most noble of all the characters in the book.
Don't miss this book! Simon Vance reading Dickens? Nothing gets better than this!
No words to express the perfection of this performance. I am a better woman for it. I have read and loved this story before, but this reading of it has elevated it to a masterpiece. I am uplifted and inspired and grateful for the God given talent of Simon Vance and his willingness to share that gift with others.
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