Confession: this is my favourite book. Of all time. Ever.
Now that that’s out of the way I should probably explain why, and what better way to do that than with a list.
- Wilde is witty and intelligent.
- Because you will come to love and hate Dorian, but above all pity him.
- Aside from the doomed love, sex and drug use that fuels the novel, Wilde decides to throw in a seedy criminal underworld just to liven things up.
- Because Lord Henry Wotton says the most outlandish things – obviously “a man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.”
- It may be set in 19th century London, but the resemblances to modern life and our obsession with youth and beauty are striking.
- There’s a portrait hidden in the attic. But not just any portrait, you definitely wouldn’t want it in an art gallery any time soon.
- The novel is unsettling but above all fascinating – Wilde once said that “Basil Hallward is what I think I am: Lord Henry what the world thinks me: Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”
- Because for all of its ruminations on morality, decay and the soul, “all art is quite useless” and what better reason to love it.