Book Review: Candide by Voltaire

Comedic. Sarcastic. Dark. What is not to love about the classic novella by Voltaire? It integrates comedy with a whole lot of skepticism, and mocking of the wealthy…quite a unique take indeed! 

The story of Candide follows Candide himself, the main protagonist, who resides in his comfortable abode in Germany. The Baron Thunder-ten-Tronckh owns the property which Candide resides in, along with the Barons daughter Cunégonde and the philosopher, Pangloss.

The Baron, catches him kissing his daughter and subsequently kicks Candide out of his home. Almost immediately, Candide is forced to enlist in the army, yet returns home to find that it was invaded by the enemy, and his beloved Cunégonde was killed in the aftermath. However, luckily for Candide as he travels to other parts of the Europe, he encounters people who help him navigate his life once more… 

After finding out that his precious Cunégonde is alive, Candide sets out on a series of endeavors in order to find her. He encounters people of all faiths, backgrounds, nationalities, and demeanors.

All of these help Candide oppose the idea constantly reinstated by Pangloss, the all-knowing philosopher, that “all is for the best”. However, contrary to his belief in his teacher, Candide begins to form his own perception of the world around him and towards the end of the book realizes that all is not for the best. 

The novella is extremely fast-paced. It is good for individuals who like a quick, fast read. I loved it because I was never bored, and the story was always straight to the point. Voltaire does a good job at employing sarcastic bits here and there and constantly uses Candide and Pangloss to mock the status quo present during his time.

-Haana F.

Candide by Voltaire is available for checkout at the Mission Viejo Library.

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