Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Review: Tom Jones by Henry Fielding

This is the long and intricate life story of the foundling, Tom Jones, from his birth to the finding of his fortune. This story has something of an episodic feel to it, being a series of many amusing incidents where Tom makes the aquaintance of a large number of memorable and humourous characters such as the Reverend Thwackum and Squire Western. Tom Jones is one of the pinnacles of English literature and a rarity in that it is as enjoyable as it is long with a superbly worked story that brings all the many storylines together at the end.

Criticized for its "lowness" when published, Tom Jones, by Henry Fielding, is a quite promiscuous character, something which is used to define Tom's class, and the novel goes on to mock the judgmental upper classes' view of such people. Whilst a book of social commentary, Tom Jones is also a highly comic story, which remains funny to this day.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this novel, for me, is the luxurious use of the English language with a comic turn of phrase and a catalogue of superb words to add to ones vocabulary: rodomontade, supernumary, ipse dixit and so many more wonderful terms. For those that enjoy classic literature this is a must read for its humour, characters, plot and style - truly a masterpiece and one of my favourite books.

For some readers the most off-putting thing about Tom Jones is its sheer length. While there is no denying that this is a very large book, in the hand, the plot lines are skilfully woven by the author and all come together towards the end of the book and it does not feel like a long book due to its continuous occurrence of amusing events.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of the English language and humourous stories. With a superbly intricate plot and social commentary this novel can be enjoyed at many levels and in terms of the cost per word, this must be one of the cheapest stories available!

Score: 10/10

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