Candide by Voltaire


A flamboyant and controversial personality of enormous wit and intelligence, Voltaire is one of the most intriguing figures of the eighteenth century Enlightenment. His masterpiece is Candide, a brilliant satire on the theory that ‘the world is the best of all possible worlds.’ The book traces the picaresque adventures of the guileless Candide, who is forced into the army, flogged, shipwrecked, betrayed, robbed, separated from his beloved Cunegonde, tortured by the Inquisition, etc., all without losing his resilience and will to live.

I don’t know what to say about this novel, except that is was very strange! The story follows Candide on his journey through life to find love and such life. However, he often finds himself in mischief or witness to some extraordinary stories. None of this puts him off his mission though.

This is truly bizarre. I read it as it is on The Rory Gilmore list, and as I sit and reflect on the novel I just don’t know what to say. There are elements of this story that will stay with me for a long time – such as the woman with one buttock or the ladies who entertained themselves with monkeys. These things are just odd. I’ve read other reviews of this book and found that people laughed all the through – I didn’t, I was more bemused than anything. I didn’t know what to think.

For me, this wasn’t a book that was about liking the characters. I think I only finished it because I wanted to know what other crazy scenarios Voltaire could think up. This book contains rape, murder, theft, slavery and a whole host of other things. This is not my usual read and thankfully it isn’t very long – less than 200 pages. I don’t think I enjoyed this book, I finished it just to see what else would come out the woodwork. Only 3/5 for me.

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