5 Must-Read Classic Novels 

There’s beauty in the vintage and classic, be it cars, films, or our beloved best friends, books. To read classics is to travel into a seemingly bizarre era where a sneeze carried morbid connotations. It takes you to a time when things that we now consider normal were new and extraordinary, inspiring an anxious mix of excitement and fear. 

Here are five must-read classics that’d take you to the culture of yore, as well as the origins of the tropes that haunt our collective fantasies. 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Set in the 1800s, Persuasion is a beautiful portrayal of destiny, validating the oft-cited ‘If it’s meant for you, it will eventually find you.’ Narrating the story of Anne and Captain Wentworth who, despite being deeply in love, are separated by a wedge of societal judgement that would declare a man’s unworthiness based on his lack of titles and money. This is not too far off from what people continue to face nowadays. The novel tells us that love is patient, it is kind. While Anne is unable to marry another man because of her deep longing for Wentworth, Captain Wentworth too finds it nearly impossible to forget the only woman he ever loved, ultimately deciding to risk his feelings by coming back. This is a story about love, destiny, heartbreak, society dilemmas and second chances.

I was in another world as I finished this book and simply didn’t want it to end! Anne and Wentworth’s happily ever after was not without its fair share of resentment, jealousy, hate and redemption, which only served to add a greater satisfaction to the ending.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Every atom of your flesh is as dear to me as my own: in pain and sickness it would still be dear. Your mind is my treasure, and if it were broken, it would be my treasure still.”

Written in first person, Jane Eyre is a beautiful tale of love, social status and self-discovery, or a woman’s journey towards self-love and self-discovery. Positioning Jane as a character in constant instability, an orphan who runs from one place to another in search of her family, the book traces her process of self-discovery within the shift from her Aunt’s house to Lowood School and then the process of becoming a governess. However, her arc would be incomplete without the sobering, passionate and complex romance with Mr Rochester, a married man. Her struggles with these desires and their implications, as well as the dilemma that is intrinsic to this romance, truly emphasise the larger struggle of finding a true home.

Falling for certain fictional men is unavoidable. They are charming as hell! But be warned: this is not your go-to romance, even if it is one of my go-to reads. I would recommend everyone to read this book at least once in their lives.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

“In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” 

Enemies to Lovers? Nah! This was love at first sight… until they opened their mouths and ruined everything. Even though they crave each other, EGO had long since entered the chat. Two strong-minded and opinionated individuals, rigid in their beliefs, fell in love only to discover that love requires adjustments, it requires accepting flaws and forgiveness. 

Oh, the desire to confess their love, the parallel need to not seem vulnerable, to escape the other’s judgement, and then to finally surrender to the feeling of love, accepting that it’s strong, way too strong for them to resist, and then learning how to look at each other with a fresh perspective. This is one hell of a rollercoaster written by Jane Austen.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

“Be with me always — take any form — drive me mad! Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!”

Love can be destructive, it can be obsessive. Love can not only burn the lovers but also those surrounding them. The inevitable force separating lovers and bringing Heathcliff’s wrath to its face, a force that fuelled his desire to take revenge from all those who wronged him, is the very force that lies at the heart of this story.

Heathcliff’s character is an almost unadulterated form of an impassioned lover, a man with a capacity for rage, a propensity for madness and a readiness to burn the world. He hurts Catherine with words, destroys her with his actions but can never afford to lose her. Complex and complicated Catherine, on the other hand, is torn between her love for Heathcliff and her will to live up to society and its nature. A dark, layered and haunted love story, Wuthering Height is an everlasting book that talks about how complicated and destructive love can be. 

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

If Wuthering Heights was about obsession with another, this book is all about self-obsession, particularly the self-centred pursuit of pleasure and indulgence fueled by ideals of aestheticism. And who better to sing of such aestheticism than Oscar Wilde, a man who famously commented on the drab nature of the curtains in his room as he drew his last breath?

Influenced by an older Lord Henry Wotton, Dorian, younger and vulnerable, was immediately seduced and consumed by the charm of heedless pleasure-seeking. Filled with Wilde’s characteristic humour and sarcasm, this is ultimately a narrative on ‘masks’, specifically the masks we wear to suit social perception. Gray is a master of masking, well aware of his outer beauty as well as the impact it has on others. For him, being talked about is a validation of his existence. He thrives on attention and adulation, seeking to maintain his idealised image at all costs. The fear of being forgotten or overlooked drives his actions and decisions, leading him to make morally questionable choices in his quest for eternal youth and beauty.

Featuring destructive narcissism, humour and some real-life reflection, this is the complete package.

Pick up any of these 5 Must-Read Classic Novels  from any Kunzum store or WhatsApp +91.8800200280 to order. Buy the book(s) and the coffee’s on us.

About the Reviewer:-

Satakshi Sahay is a 26-year-old passionate writer and author of the book Where Our Horizons Meet. She is based in Delhi and is a book enthusiast. You can always find her in some coffee shop or bookstore on Sundays, as she searches around the world for creativity. For a quick hello find her Instagram

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