Past Meetup

"A Tale of Two Cities" by Charles Dickens

This Meetup is past

28 people went


To be honest, the only thing I've really known about this book is the first line, which is probably the most famous opening line in history. But with it surfacing to one of the top positions in several 100 Must Read book lists, there's surely more to it than just the first line!

Here's what one reviewer has to say...

...With one of the most famous opening sentences in history, A Tale of Two Cities ranks among the novelist's finest, anatomising the conflict between democratic and aristocratic principles during the French revolution.

An "intensely cold mist" covers the land "like an evil spirit". After 18 years as a political prisoner, Doctor Manette is released and reunited with his daughter, the beguiling Lucie, who captivates the affections of two suitors, an aristocratic Frenchman named Darnay and the English lawyer Carton. This tale of two cities (London and Paris) is also a tale of three lovers, with a plot-twist of self-sacrifice inspired by Wilkie Collins's play The Frozen Deep, in which Dickens acted.

Epic in historical scale, it is also an intimate book, showing how the personal and political intermingle and what the causes and effects of violence are, including the struggle to retain one's sanity under systemic abuse. Dickens focuses throughout on two sets of relationships: between father and daughter, and between subject and state. Those facing the guillotine do not hope to gain the "pity of the people", but it is a measure of Dickens's skill that he makes us feel sympathy towards them.

This taut, atmospheric novel initially appeared as weekly instalments in 1859. Its insights remain relevant: "Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious licence and oppression ever again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind".

New to the Hungry Hundred Book Club? Here's what you need to know:

1. Read the book (If you don't manage to finish it by the meetup date, don't worry. As long as you're not going to be too disappointed by spoilers, you're still welcome to join.)

2. Come to the meeting, always on the last Sunday of every month

3. Be prepared to order food/drink at the venue (where ever that may be) to show our appreciation for letting us use their space

4. Discuss! It's a casual conversation, so don't be afraid to ask questions and let us know what you think.

If this book inspires a creative element in you, please write a piece for the Creative Component of our book club. It can be about anything that has something to do with the book or the discussion. It might get you a free book! Check our facebook page or send me a message for more information.