A review by paulaks
The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde

dark mysterious reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


There are many thoughts I have about this book so let's brain dump them:
- Obviously beautifully written. Result: Lot of quotes!
- Interesting characters, non of them exeptionally "loveable" but that was not how they should be. Their flaws and different beliefs made this so interesting and without those the book couldn't thrive.
- Additional to the point I just mentioned, it was very manipulative. Looking at the time it was written the characters (men) wanted to be right and brush their beliefs onto everyone else. Even though those beliefs included misogynistic and racist views - the concept of that was really interesting and really important to the character development.
- The pacing was.. weird. Sometimes it was way too descriptive about e.g. a perfume. At other points it felt rushed especially at major plot lines. That was confusing but maybe intended? Edit from future me: After some debates with my dad I realize - the pacing was totally fine and fit the purpose perfectly. As a contemporary reader this is quite odd to read. Being used to a stable outline reading Wilde's work is weird but sheds light on an important tool in literature: pacing. 
- The philosophy was on point about society, youth, art and more that you will discover in the book. Especially the person who told his philosophical views was entertaining.
- I loved the athmosphere! Dark, dramatic leaning into gothic.
Overall: 5 stars. I think I will reread this in 2 or 3 years to get a new view on it. But I can recommend to start as early as you can to pick this book up! If you are lucky (like I was) you can get a perspective on this book quite early, maybe even in your "youth". That will hit harder since there are many dialogs about that ;)

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