Dickens, Charles "Great Expectations" - 1861
I read one Dickens before, "A Christmas Carol". And that was ages ago. I always wanted to read more. Ever since I read Gaynor Arnold's "Girl in a Blue Dress" about his wife, I wanted to read his novels even more. But - so many books, so little time, so it took me a while until I picked up one of his novels.
What can I say. I absolutely loved it. His way of creating suspense is incredible. I have often heard this was his greatest novel, and, even though I haven't really read his others, I can very well understand that. The characters are described so vividly, their thoughts and actions, superb. What I love most about it, you have the imagination to have been there, along with the characters, you are in the story rather than a neutral observer. This novel has it all, love, jealousy, drama, crime, poverty, vanity, anything you can think of.
"Great Expectations" will definitely go on my list of Favourite books.
In the meantime, I also read, i.a., "A Tale of Two Cities" and "The Pickwick Papers". See more reviews of his books here.
My favourite quote, what a beautiful declaration of love: "Out of my thoughts! You are part of my existence, part of my- self. You have been in every line I have ever read, since I first came here, the rough common boy whose poor heart you wounded even then. You have been in every prospect I have ever seen since - on the river, on the sails of the ships, on the marshes, in the clouds, in the light, in the darkness, in the wind, in the woods, in the sea, in the streets. You have been the embodiment of every graceful fancy that my mind has ever become acquainted with. The stones of which the strongest London buildings are made, are not more real, or more impossible to be displaced by your hands, than your presence and influence have been to me, there and everywhere, and will be. Estella, to the last hour of my life, you cannot choose but remain part of my character, pad of the little good in me, part of the evil. But, in this separation I associate you only with the good, and I will faithfully hold you to that always, for you must have done me far more good than harm, let me feel now what sharp distress I may. O God bless you, God forgive you!"
From the back cover:
"Dickens's magnificent novel of guilt, desire, and redemption
The orphan Pip’s terrifying encounter with an escaped convict on the Kent marshes, and his mysterious summons to the house of Miss Havisham and her cold, beautiful ward Estella, form the prelude to his 'great expectations.' How Pip comes into a fortune, what he does with it, and what he discovers through his secret benefactor are the ingredients of his struggle for moral redemption."