A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dickens’ deep insight in this book is not what I would call “Christian” (though it is consistent with Christianity) but “human.” He sees quite clearly what anyone with eyes should be able to see, whether they have the Bible or not: that sin sometimes twists its victims into victimizers, that vengeance sometimes takes on a momentum carrying it far beyond justice.
But there was one truly Christian insight in the book, the believable (I felt) self-sacrifice of one character for another. The final portion of the book compares that sacrifice elegantly to that of Christ, a fitting picture.
Dickens, of course, also has a legendary eye for characterization that creates moments of real wit. But this book isn’t very funny. It’s serious, even scary. It puts you face to face with the terrible two-way injustices carried out every day “under the sun.” I hope that Dickens did realize that Christ’s self-sacrifice and resurrection provide the only hope for resolving humanity’s capacity for oppression and self-immolating revenge.