“Dorian Gray, a handsome and narcissistic young man, lives thoughtlessly for his own pleasure – an attitude encouraged by the company he keeps. One day, after having his portrait painted, Dorian makes a frivolous Faustian wish: that he should always remain as young and beautiful as he is in that painting, while the portrait grows old in his stead.
The wish comes true, and Dorian soon finds that none of his wicked actions have visible consequences. Realizing that he will appear fresh and unspoiled no matter what kind of life he lives, Dorian becomes increasingly corrupt, unchecked by public opinion. Only the portrait grows degenerate and ugly, a powerful symbol of Dorian’s internal ruin.
Wilde’s dreamlike exploration of life without limits scandalized its late-Victorian audience and has haunted readers’ imaginations for more than a hundred years.”
I went into this book with no expectations, which I usually like to do with all books so it won’t hinder my enjoyment of the book. I know from experience that the best way to consume classics for me is by audiobook. In the way stories are told by the narrators, I’ll usually get the tone of the scene if I don’t understand what is going on because of the use of the language. At least that was when I first started listening to audiobooks, now I just do it because I find it easier to consume a classic by audiobook than reading it physical. So I listened to the audiobook narrated by B.J. Harrison.
I do have to say that the book took its time to get to the plot of the story. When you are half way through the book the plot finally starts. That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the first half of the book. In the first half you get to know Dorian more as a person and in what kind of environment he grew up. It shows what his values are as a person and what kind of people he surrounds himself with. At the beginning of the book, Dorian Gray is actually pretty innocent. He wonders and emotions sometimes surprise him. But overall he is correct and kind. But he did have some narcissistic tendencies, but he didn’t show them very quickly.
Throughout the book you see what the presents of the picture does to him. And how it changes him as a person. I am not quite sure if the picture makes him comfortable enough to show his true colors or if it is the picture which changes his character.
I was impressed by the fact that no one notices the changes in him, or should I say there were no changes about him. In the eighteen years we follow him, Dorian Gray doesn’t grow older because of the picture. The picture takes on all the sins which will usually show on a persons face. And the picture also takes Dorian age. So when he is 35 years old, Dorian Gray still looks like a seventeen year old. That is something I still find very odd about this story, even the people he calls friends don’t see the change until the end of book.
At the end Dorian commits a sin, which doesn’t physically leaves it makes, but stays with him ever since he had committed it. And that sin slowly starts to eat him away from the inside. At the end he decides that he will ‘better’ his life. And that is all I am going to say about this book.
I quite enjoyed listening to the book. In my opinion it was the right size. If it was any shorter it would have felt that the story was lacking something, and if it was any longer the story would have been dragged out. I do like the way the novel ends and there might be some lessons to learn from this novel, actually I know that for sure.
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