24 October, 2014

Book Review: Candide

From Goodreads: Brought up in the household of a powerful Baron, Candide is an open-minded young man, whose tutor, Pangloss, has instilled in him the belief that 'all is for the best'. But when his love for the Baron's rosy-cheeked daughter is discovered, Candide is cast out to make his own way in the world.
And so he and his various companions begin a breathless tour of Europe, South America and Asia, as an outrageous series of disasters befall them - earthquakes, syphilis, a brush with the Inquisition, murder - sorely testing the young hero's optimism.

Thoughts: After our last book group discussion of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, one of our members recommended we read Candide by Voltaire - another story where the main character has a very whatever will be will be attitude. I approached it with trepidation - classics and I often don't mix, but what I found was an rollicking read that had me laughing out loud and completely enjoying the total unbelievability of Candide's adventures. His focus on finding his true love,
Cunegonde (whose name I pronounced in my head at least a dozen different ways, none, I'm sure, correct!) gives the story ongoing motivation. Rather unsettling though was the very matter of fact, off hand way Voltaire often described rather horrific events such as wars, rapes and general mistreatment of others. At only 94 pages, Candide is not at all daunting and well worth the read.