- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 286 KB
- Publisher: Public Domain Books (1 Oct 1994)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language English
(Courtesy of Amazon.co.uk)
A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man’s portrait, his subject’s frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray’s picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent. After he kills a young woman, “as surely as if I had cut her little throat with a knife”, Dorian Gray is surprised to find no difference in his vision or surroundings. “The roses are not less lovely for all that. The birds sing just as happily in my garden.”
As Hallward tries to make sense of his creation, his epigram-happy friend Lord Henry Wotton encourages Dorian in his sensual quest with any number of Wildean paradoxes, including the delightful “When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.” But despite its many languorous pleasures, The Picture of Dorian Gray is an imperfect work. Compared to the two (voyeuristic) older men, Dorian is a bore, and his search for ever new sensations far less fun than the novel’s drawing-room discussions. Even more oddly, the moral message of the novel contradicts many of Wilde’s supposed aims, not least “no artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.” Nonetheless, the glamour boy gets his just deserts. And Wilde, defending Dorian Gray, had it both ways: “All excess, as well as all renunciation, brings its own punishment.”
My Rating: ★★★ (3 out of 5)
When I bought my Kindle I did what I presume most people do, scroll through the free books and download, download, download.
This was one of the first books I downloaded and when I signed up for the eclectic reading challenge and needed a classic book to read this was on the list. It was also recommended by a couple of people so it seemed a good choice.
I found The Picture of Dorian Gray difficult to get into at first. It’s not a long book, but it took me several weeks to read as it didn’t engage me enough. I like a book to grab me and not let go. I want to be forced to carry on reading even when I’m so tired my eyes feel like sandpaper. This was not even close to that type of reading experience.
If it hadn’t been for the challenge I might have given it up as a bad job though I am glad that I didn’t stop reading as around 60% of the way through it did pick up. From that point on I read it in a couple of sittings and I found myself enjoying the developments in the plot.
There were a couple of chapters that lost me and I admit to skipping parts of them. Normally, when I read a book I read the whole book. I very rarely skip parts of it so this factored in my overall rating.
You might think my review doesn’t warrant anything as generous as a three star rating. I enjoyed the second half of the book enough to give it that rating. It was not a bad book, just not for me. I’ve ticked it off and moved on.
This is the third book I have read for the Eclectic Reading Challenge 2012. This is the book for the Classics category.