Review: Voltaire’s “Candide”

by writereaderly

A worthy classic from 1759, my hearties. Naïve (not to say gormless) Candide loves the beautiful and improbably named Cunegonde, but her family does not love him. He is cast from the Baron of Thunder-ten-Tronkh’s castle in Westphalia into a life involving Bulgarian military service, torture in an auto-da-fé in Lisbon, flight (by ship) to Buenos Ayres, three murders, treks through the Paraguayan jungle to find El Dorado, being fleeced of his red “sheep” (llamas?) and their rich burdens in Surinam, literary vampirism in Paris, association with royalty in Venice, and buying a farm outside of Constantinople to live with those he loves and no longer loves, all while contemplating the Great Question: do we live in the best of all possible worlds? As KAM said, this a tiny novel (87pp) where every action-packed chapter could be a novel in itself, and thank goodness Cervantes didn’t have a go at it. An enjoyable read, I especially liked the Latin American sections, and I can but agree with the dictum that we should focus on cultivating our gardens.

Where it came from: KAM’s Bookshelf
Time & manner of reading: A few reads during the day, with interest
Where it went to: Home
Reminds me of:
Who I’d recommend it to: A general recommendation should do
Also reading: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene; The Reivers by William Faulkner

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