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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Candide by Voltaire

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized0 Comments

Candide by Voltaire is another one of those books that I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked it up. In fact, if it hadn’t been listed on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list I might not have picked it up at all. This book is short – weighing in at approximately 130 pgs and probably took me longer to read than it should have.

The story follows the titular character Candide, who believes that everything that happens is always for the best and despite the many misfortunes that happen to him on his various journey’s he is unshakeable in his beliefs. This story is a satire and Voltaire never misses a beat to make pokes and jibes at contemporary beliefs (and people) of his day. According to the Introduction this book was written after Voltaire’s own beliefs changed from optimism to pesimisim based on negative events that were happening around the world and also to himself. In Candide, he seems to want to try to prove that bad things happen and that they aren’t always for the best and those that still hold to that belief are as foolish as the central character is.

Candide is humorous and at times also scathing in its attacks against those who Voltaire had personal gripes with. It is also a story that withstands the test of time. There is a distinct modern feel to the words and scenarios that make the story as relevant today as it was 200+ years ago when it was first published. I am not sure if this is a story that I would read more then once but it is definately one that I would recommend to others.

In Short: This book is short and is worth the little time that it takes to read it.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Next Up: Sephardi Entrepreneurs in Jerusalem: The Valero Family 1800-1948 by Joesph B Glass and Ruth Kark and War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy