Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray” book review by Viktorija Tamašauskaitė

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” – a story of a fashionable, evil and scandalous young man named Dorian Gray. He was a beautiful man, but very corrupt and looking only for beauty and material things in his life. This story shows us how young man’s desires can ruin whole his life and what the desires make Dorian Gray to give up for eternal youth and beauty – his soul. The story of Dorian Gray is the most popular Oscar Wilde’s book sold all over the world. In 1890 the tale of Dorian Gray and his immorality caused a big scandal back then. As the author of the novel said, Dorian Gray had a very big moral in himself, but did not explain what exactly he meant. A few years later, Oscar Wilde appeared in trial because of his homosexual liaisons. Everybody started wondering if author portrayed himself as Dorian Gray, O. Wilde had only one answer to that: “Basil Hallward is what I think I am; Lord Henry – what the world thinks of me; Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

“She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She is more than an individual. I love her, and I must make her love me. I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. ”

A very handsome and self-confident has found a secret to be young and beautiful forever. Seeing all these people around him that are his age, Dorian understands how precious is the secret of his eternal youth and lives his life the best he can, partying and enjoying life as much as possible. He knew that his actions will not have any influence to him, Dorian Gray lives a very lavish and wild life, breaking heart after heart. Finally, he meets a girl who falls in love with him – Sybil Vane. We could say that Dorian Gray also falls in love with her, but when he treats her so badly we can understand one things – he cannot love a pure heart like Sybil’s. A girl, being treated so badly, finally cannot handle the pressure – she kills herself. But things don’t stop here. Sybil’s brother, James Vane, still blames Dorian Gray for his sister’s death and seeks for revenge. But Dorian has another dark secret – in his attic he is hiding a portrait of himself which is a secret to his youth. Gray’s body in real life remains healthy and young, while in the portrait he becomes older and uglier each day. Frightened of what he sees, Dorian Gray finds another beautiful and innocent girl to conquer – Hetty Merton. He promises himself to treat her right so that the picture of him would get better. But it does not. Each day it gets more grotesque. What will Dorian Gray do to escape this madness? In my opinion, this books is a marvelous piece of art. When I read this book I couldn’t do anything else until I finished it. The story is engaging, has a certain dark and supernatural Gothic period feeling. All in all, this story of Dorian Gray shows people what most people seek more in life – beauty, fame and materialism. But within the lines you can see a lot of beautiful and strong lines about our lives, strong ideas and quotes.

Daphne Du Maurier “Rebecca” book review by Kamilė Mačenskytė

A young lady, who works as a traveling companion to a wealthy American woman Mrs. Van Hopper finds herself falling in love with a many years older widowed man named Maxim de Winter. Her heart isRebecca flustered with beautiful mirages of a happy ending when Mr. De Winter proposes to the heroine in only two weeks of their relationship. She immediately agrees and travels with the rich man to his home – a mansion called Manderley. Unfortunately her „happily ever after“ dream bubble is popped, when she starts to feel that the ghost of late Rebecca de Winter is still hanging around. The staff seems to push her away, family friends constantly compare her and she feels like a horrible replacement that does not fit anywhere. The more she tries to compare herself to Rebecca the more useless and pathetic she feels, which leads her to believing, that Mr. de Winter is still in love with his late wife. Their relationship seems to be falling apart, as the heroine feels her husband becoming colder and colder, when one evening, the missing body of Rebecca is finally found. After this revelation Maxim has no other choice but to admit to his new wife the truth. Rebecca was a horrid person, who cheated on him constantly and disrespected him through out their whole marriage, so Mr.de Winter lost his patience and shot his wife. After this revelation, a lot of troubles has yet to come to the heroine and her husband, but at least she finally finds peace with herself and shakes off the long stuck Rebeccas image. She once again starts to believe in her husbands love and finds the strength to help him overcome the problems that await.

This book shows us how strongly people love and how love changes them, sometimes for the better,and sometimes for the worse. Our heroine presents us how far one can go for a person they love, how many things they can refuse and leave behind only to have the warmth of a loved person, as well as if you find the right person , many frightening things and situations can become a little less scary with them by your side.


Willa Cather “My Antonia” book review by Kristina Ufertaitė

This is a very interesting and gripping story, which is narrated from the author’s (Willa Cather) point of view as one of the main book characters friend (Jim Burden). My Antonia is a novel about a girl (Antonia Shimerda), her hard but joyful life, boy (Jim Burden) who loved her his entire life from all of his heart and beauty of the country they are living in. Antonia is a girl who works as a farmer for half of her life because of her family’s financial situation It’s her brother’s farm and he is responsible for it, but Antonia’s brother (Ambrosch) does not even try to move his finger and find someone who would help him in farming instead of Antonia. Tony (Antonia) Shimerda is a very strong girl who experienced a lot of hard and confusing things in her life: her father’ suicide, heavy field work, boyfriend’s fraud and loneliness. But she still manages to see beauty in other people, stay happy and be thankful of what she has. Everyone should learn how to appreciate what we have and how to be happy every day because we are not doomed yet if we have something to eat or someone by our sides. The title My Antonia” is with word “My” due to Jims inscriptions which were presented in the introduction. This novel is considered as Cather’s first masterpiece and I agree with that because I could nottake my eyes off the book until I finished it. I think everybody should read such an inspiring and beautiful book to find something positive in their lives. I know I did after reading this book. 💡

Albert Camus “The Stranger” book review by Karolina Orlovska

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your existence is an act of rebellion.’’

Albert Camus

“The Stranger” is one of the books, where existential problems of a person are touched. The novel was published in 1942 and written by a French philosopher, author, and journalist Albert Camus. In all his works we clearly can see the theme of absurd and the individual facing it.

The novel begins with the situation when the mother of the main character dies. This doesn’t affect him at all: he doesn’t even cry. I’ve got the feeling that he feels bored at the funeral and it seems strange to me, same as it could be to other readers. This lack of emotions creates “the wall” between Meursault and society. We could compare it with the game – if someone doesn’t play by the rules – he falls out. The same happens with the society, because rules are norms or standards by which society lives and in this situation, Meursault is not playing according to the rules. That is why the author gives the name to the this novel “The stranger” or other translators may translate it as “The outsider”. When topic switches to love – it is also the same story. Meursault doesn’t show emotions – he enjoys the physical contact with Marie who works at the same place as he. She, on the other hand, represent his life – free and without any obligations.

The second part of the book is about Meursault being in prison. This is because his neighbor, Raymond,involves him in a conflict with his wife and the Arab, he also gives Meursault the gun, which results in Arab getting killed by Meursault. This was like a favor for Raymond and he acted as though Meursault was his friend. From my point of view – the biggest absurd is that on the trial he as though is judged not for the murder, but for unwillingness at his mother’s funeral. The prosecutor at the trial sees him as a monster who deserves to be killed.

At the end I would like to say, that not always we must play by the rules, sometimes life send us challenges that we must complete acting against the rules. Life is changing, so do we. There are a lot of “Strangers” in our society nowadays. And as Meursault mentioned while speaking with chaplain, that nobody has the right to judge him for his actions or for who he is, and no one has the right to judge someone else. 💡

John Fowles’s “The Collector” Book Review by Izabela Daržinkevič

“I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.” (J.Fowles)

UtopiaNowadays, people spend a lot of time looking for the answer who we are and what is the main aim of our life. A few years ago I have also started thinking about who I am and why I am living. I found a lot of different articles and movies, but recently I’ve realized that the best way to answer all these questions is reading books. Of course, not all books are fit for this purpose. Existential and psychological novels are the best books that can help to explain many difficult spiritual things. I have read several books which changed my way of thinking, books like “Utopia” by Thomas More, ”The Master and Margaret” by Michail Bulgakov and a few other, but one book has become a mystery to me – it is “The Collector” by John Fowles. I am still trying to understand what the main topic of this novel is, but every time I start thinking about it, I have many different questions and there’s always something that I cannot explain.

“The collector” was written by an English novelist of international stature John Robert Fowles and it was his first novel that became very popular. A few years after publishing (1963) the book, a featured film with the same title was created. On one hand, it seems that “The collector” is a tragic love story, but on the other hand, it’s something more than that. As I said before, this novel is full of various topics and perspectives. It is about love and relations, happiness and sadness, domestication and about some of us – poor people who are still looking for something good for our soul. This whole inner world is presented only by relations between the two main characters Frederick and Miranda.

The author presents two very different people. Frederick Clegg is a young lonely man who collects butterflies in his spare time. Miranda Grey is a middle-class art student at the Slade School of Fine Arts. Frederick is obsessed with Miranda, he likes her looks, but he does not realize what is happening in her mind. The lack of social skills prevents him from talking to her, but he dreams how he is going to meet her and marry one day. His dream comes true, but only partially. Frederick wins a large money prize and hopes that Miranda will love him at least for his money. He decides to buy an old isolated house in the countryside, arranges everything for his guest and kidnaps Miranda. Further, the author presents a fight between two main characters. There are a lot of external and internal conflicts. All that happens next is self-knowledge in a very uncharacteristic way even for extreme situations.

John Fowles uses two perspectives to tell his story. One part is presented from Frederick’s point of view and the other part is presented in a way of reading Miranda’s diary. This way, the author shows much more details for his readers and creates a very gloomy atmosphere. “While being a guest” Miranda analyzes her whole life. Of course, she tries to get out of her cell, but she is not strong enough to physically fight with Frederick. She understands that freedom is the most important value in life. butterflyMiranda remembers her family and friends, but a big part of her memories is occupied by a man named G.P. Finally, she realizes that she would like to get married with G.P. and continue her artworks. At the same time, Frederick hopes that one day Miranda is going to love him because she is the aim of his life. He tries to be a nice and person, but the lack of social skills and education prevents him of normal conversations with Miranda. Frederick has a very big disadvantage it is his selfishness interlaced with fear. On one hand, Frederick has reached his goal – he has Miranda very near and nobody, as it seems, can destroy his beautiful life. But on the other hand, the result did not meet his expectations. J. Fowles says “We all want things we can’t have. Being a decent human being is accepting that.” When a person, in this case Frederick, dreams about Miranda for a long time he feels happy about his dreams, but when Miranda becomes a real person – someone he can touch or talk with – Frederick loses his interest, loses his aim and now he has to look for something new. At the end of the story, after Miranda‘s death, he realizes that he has found his cruel „vocation“ – to collect not only butterflies but also young beautiful girls.

When I have finished reading this book I tried to imagine what my reaction and behavior would be if I were in Miranda‘s place. Also, I tried to understand and even justify Frederick‘s behavior, but it was really hard. For one moment I even thought that Miranda was to blame for some of Frederic‘s actions. I cannot say that this book has revealed the purpose to my life, but I have found two main thoughts which are very useful. The first, is that we should reduce our level of selfishness and try to live as if today is the last day of our lives because one can never know what can happen next. The second, is that all our goals are like butterflies – we need a lot of time to catch them, and we can never know what the result will be. Some people are like Frederick – they collect small and large butterflies and hide them for the future so that later they could boast about the wonderful collection and have a hope that the biggest and the most beautiful butterfly that can satisfy all the expectations is captured.