Sometimes, when the world feels bleak, I make the deliberate decision to lose myself, forgetting all pains and woes for a while, in a book. And because, in these circumstances, I want to be sure that the book is good enough to get lost in, I turn for comfort to an old favourite which can be guaranteed to freeze out a cold world, at least for while. I don’t mean to provoke, but the EU referendum results that emerged on Friday morning and the responses to it since then, have left me saddened and feeling in need of a good comfort read. So this morning I picked up a dear old friend, Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, which I have loved since I first came to know it as a O’level text. And on page one, this is what I found:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way–in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.