‘I think that it is better to be beautiful than to be good’
What is it about?
The Picture of Dorian Gray is a witty yet philosophical novel about sin, morality and life. The story spans two decades, starting when Dorian Gray is a shy but remarkably beautiful ‘lad’ of around 20, being painted by artist Basil Hallward (who clearly has romantic feelings for him). Whilst sitting for the painting he meets Lord Henry Wotton, a dandy and a corrupting influence. After Lord Henry stresses to Dorian the importance of his youth and beauty, the youngster wishes that the painting would age and show his sins instead of himself. The story follows as Dorian develops into a scandalous yet prominent member of Victorian London society, with Basil and Henry acting as the angel and devil on his shoulder respectively.
Was it any good?
After just one reading, this book has become one of my favourite novels. Wilde his famed for his rapier wit, and this book cut stitches into my sides. Whilst there is of course a serious moral to the story, there is scarcely a page that goes past that doesn’t make the reader chortle at some wicked remark, usually courtesy of Lord Henry Wotton. The characters are exquisitely written and crafted, from the main character right down to the minor parts that only pop into one chapter. It is an enjoyable and enthralling journey to watch Dorian Gray transform from a fresh-faced and innocent ‘lad’ to a still-fresh-faced and borderline evil man.
How long did it take to read: four days
For fans of: burning wit, homoerotic undertones, Interview with the Vampire, Shakespeare
This book tastes like: a double gin and tonic