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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens discussion thread

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We're having another group read and this time we've decided on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.  We've split it up into five sections of around 80 pages each, reading one section per week. We'll be discussing our progress along the way, so there will be spoilers!   :readingtwo:
 
Synopsis (from amazon.co.uk):
Lucie Manette has been separated from her father for eighteen years while he languished in Paris's most feared prison, the Bastille. Finally reunited, the Manettes' fortunes become inextricably intertwined with those of two men, the heroic aristocrat Darnay and the dissolute lawyer Carton. Their story, which encompasses violence, revenge, love and redemption, is grippingly played out against the backdrop of the terrifying brutality of the French Revolution.
 
 
Please feel free to join in! :)  We may find we need to change the timescales as we go along, but will update this first post to say what instalment we're currently reading, with links to where each discussion starts, but please bear in mind, there will be spoilers!
 
 
Week 1 - reading until Sunday 25th Oct 2015
Issue 1 – Book 1, Chapters 1 to 4 (p 27)
Issue 2 – Book 1, Chapters 5 to 6 (p 51)
Issue 3 – Book 2, Chapters 1 to 3 (p 80) – total 80 pages

Week 2 - reading until Sunday 1st Nov 2015 - discussion of this section starts here
Issue 4 – Book 2, Chapters 4 to 6 (p 107)
Issue 5 – Book 2, Chapters 7 to 9 (p 135)
Issue 6 – Book 2, Chapters 10 to 13 (p 161) – total 81 pages

Week 3 - reading until Sunday 8th Nov 2015
Issue 7 – Book 2, Chapters 14 to 15 (p 184)
Issue 8 – Book 2, Chapters 16 to 18 (p 209)
Issue 9 – Book 2, Chapters 19 to 21 (p 233) – total 72 pages

Week 4 - reading until Sunday 15th Nov 2015 - discussion of this section starts here
Issue 10 – Book 2, Chapters 22 to 24 (p 260)
Issue 11 – Book 3, Chapters 1 to 3 (p 286)
Issue 12 – Book 3, Chapters 4 to 7 (p 313) – total 80 pages

Week 5 - reading until Sunday 22nd Nov 2015
Issue 13 – Book 3, Chapters 8 to 9 (p 341)
Issue 14 – Book 3, Chapters 10 to 12 (p 371)
Issue 15 – Book 3, Chapters 13 to 15 (p 404) – total 91 pages
 
All reading dates subject to change after discussion.   :)

Edited by Janet

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How did everyone get on with the first chapters?

 

I'm enjoying it a lot, although I'm not feeling connected to any of the characters as yet.  I feel like we're really still in the introductory stages of the book, and still finding out who is who, and where the story is going.  From the synopsis, I feel like we've barely brushed the surface of the story, but I feel like we're about to go over the top into the real action of the plot now.

 

One of my worries about Dickens is the language as before I read Nicholas Nickleby last year, I'd been put off by attempts to start other novels which had seemed far to florid, but Nicholas Nickleby wasn't like that at all and I'm pleased that A Tale of Two Cities is not one either, and I'm finding it a very smooth reading experience. :)

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How did everyone get on with the first chapters?

 

I'm enjoying it a lot, although I'm not feeling connected to any of the characters as yet.  I feel like we're really still in the introductory stages of the book, and still finding out who is who, and where the story is going.  From the synopsis, I feel like we've barely brushed the surface of the story, but I feel like we're about to go over the top into the real action of the plot now.

 

yeah I would agree with that, but the language is so captivating you almost forget there isn't a plot at the beginning :giggle2:

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Don't worry, it doesn't matter a bit. I only finished the first section of our read this morning due to a late start, but so far, so good.

 

I agree with Claire that this part was setting the scene. I'm really looking forward to completing the next installment. :)

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I reached it, at last. The book was hard to get into, but by the second session I could read it with relative ease. This beginning is great, the writing becomes more fluid and the characters seem to have depth.

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Just a quick post from me because it's nearly bedtime!

 

I finished this week's instalment on Wednesday and things have really picked up now, haven't they!  I wanted to carry on reading!

 

Poor Doctor Manette.   The business of the word  dig at the Tower of London really unsettled him, didn't it.  And Lucie has several suitors now - I'm sure he has mixed feelings about that.

 

The section set in France and featuring the Marquis was great and seemed to me to reflect the whole 'let them eat cake' element of the French Revolution, which it must surely be reflecting.  That poor peasant whose baby died under the wheels of the Marquis' carriage, and the horrible reaction of said Marquis.  :(

 

I'm sure I had some more to say, but my mind has gone blank.  However, I'm very much looking forward to this week's instalment.  The writing is so good and the story enthralling.   Top stuff.   :)

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I was a bit behind and only finished today, but you're right, Janet, we're definitely moving faster now. :D

 

Miss Pross is one of those Dickens characters that are often parodied nowadays, with her description as a wild red woman, and her tendency to exaggeration, but she does being a little comic interlude at times.

 

It just occurred to me today that our meaning of the word Lorry wouldn't have been the same as in Dickens time, so I actually looked it up, as I was curious to know whether it had any relevance to his character at the time, and it's not that far off what we know now, in that it would have been a long flat wagon without sides, and used between the engine and carriages on the railways to carry luggage, so I guess it is sort of a nice description of him, as he has been a carrier of messages and people in the plot so far. :)

 

I'm thoroughly enjoying it, but I have to say, I do like reading in instalments, as I like the anticipation of waiting for the next bit of the story each time.

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Well, it's all kicking off now!!!  Bit late with my post this week, but not sure that I have much to say about last weeks instalment, but I'm really enjoying it. :D  Jerry Cruncher's a nasty piece of work, but what a shock Young Jerry got after following out on his "fishing" trip. :o  Thought the description of the storming of the prison was fantastic … always beware of women who knit …  :hide: 
 

Looking forward to the next chapters. :)

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Well, it's all kicking off now!!!  Bit late with my post this week, but not sure that I have much to say about last weeks instalment, but I'm really enjoying it. :D  Jerry Cruncher's a nasty piece of work, but what a shock Young Jerry got after following out on his "fishing" trip. :o  Thought the description of the storming of the prison was fantastic … always beware of women who knit …  :hide:

I couldn't really add anything to what you'd written about last week's installation - I agreed with all you'd written. :)

 

I can't believe how quick this novel is to read.  I know that sounds silly considering we've been reading it over the past four weeks and still have one week to go, but what I mean is that if I hadn't been reading this as part of the group it would have taken very little time to read the whole thing.  I know it's only about 400 pages (depending upon the edition) but I still expected a book about the French Revolution to be a difficult read, and it just isn't!

 

I have very much enjoyed this week's read.  I guessed that there must have been more to Cruncher than just digging up graves!  Madame Defarge is a very sinisterly written character - I knew she was going to be bad news!  Manette has really come into his own now - I'm very pleased for him as I did think he'd always have mental health issues as a result of his imprisonment in the Bastille.  Darnay is back in prison, but I think he and Lucy should be in for a happy ending.  Here's hoping.  :)  fingersx.gif

 

I'm sure I had something else to add... maybe it'll come back to me?

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