Tuesday, 12 February 2013

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Blurb: Dorian is a good-natured young man until he discovers the power of his own exceptional beauty. As he gradually sinks deep into a frivolous, glamourous world of selfish luxury, he apparently remains physically unchanged by the stresses of his corrupt lifestyle and untouched by age. But up in his attic, hidden behind a curtain, his portrait tells a different story…

Thoughts: My thoughts changed quite a lot over the course of the novel. When I first started it, I loved it. It does feel like an indulgence on Oscar Wilde's part and he clearly relishes Lord Henry's paradoxical and sententious epigrams and his flamboyant descriptions. I really love when you can tell an author has enjoyed writing something and I think with this is very much the case in The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Around the middle of the book I started not to enjoy it so much. I think it was partly because I knew the premise of the story beforehand, so it started to feel a little inevitable and predictable. For me the happier section of Dorian's life seemed to be a bit of a page filler; although it was necessary, it wasn't as exciting or enjoyable as the rest of the novel. I also wasn't quite sure I liked how the slightly magical aspect was working...

However by the end it really picked up again for me. I loved the whole of the end section when the fear starts to creep in. In fact here, where it is done more eerily, I really enjoyed the unnatural element (of the portrait). Wilde's writing truly is incredible, and there are passages that were so beautifully formed that I read them at least five times. I also think it is an incredibly interesting idea and is very well executed. Saying that, I'm still not decided on whether I enjoyed it as much as the short stories of his I read, with their more outright sarcastic commentary, but it was a very enjoyable read and one I think will stay with me.

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