If you’re only going to write one novel in your life, this is a pretty good subject to choose. Oscar Wilde did just that and comes up trumps with a truly original, unique and imaginative idea. Just imagine a portrait that would allow you to look young forever, whilst the painting ages for you and reveals all the sins of your life. What a magnificent creation!
Never has a character made me feel such conflicting emotions before: in his innocent boyishness Dorian is quite likeable at the start of the novel. However, I was startled by the first signs of his dark nature and ended up despising him as the full extent of his conceited evilness became apparent. The important moral message seems to be that we need consequences in order to learn from our mistakes, which teach us as much as our successes. It is also apparent that trying to destroy the traces of your actions will only result in your own destruction – literally in Dorian’s case.
The writing is excellent overall; there is just one passage discussing Dorian’s endeavours to possess knowledge of music, jewels and tapestries that is so long-winded and full of historical references that I pretty much skimmed over it! It’s the kind of book that you need to read twice, especially to fully comprehend the extent of Dorian’s evilness, as some of it is oh-so-subtlety hinted at, so I suggest you do just that!