‘The Picture of Dorian Gray,’ by Oscar Wilde (1890)

Oscar Wilde’s classic is just as bewildering as it is glorious entertaining. Covering everything from philosophy to suspense to drama to satire, Wilde’s narrative voice is never anything less than central and exquisite, and his prose underlines all his concurrent philosophies into one extraordinary story. Occasionally recalling something of a rejection of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment,” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” expounds on similar themes but with an aggressive, complex renunciation of severity or consequence. It’s downright subversive how Wilde manages to make several points at once while never letting his grip over the narrative lessen, and it’s a pleasure to read from beginning to end.

Rating: ★★★★★ (out of 5)

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