Lengthy conversations form the majority of this tale, which is an early urban fantasy.

A young dandy called Dorian Grey enjoys society in London and has his portrait painted, but a lot of the artist goes into the work. Grey is influenced by an older man who thinks women are trivial decorative creatures and only youth and beauty matter. Grey becomes absorbed by such ideas and makes a pact that his portrait should grow older instead of him. Meanwhile he manages to fall for a penniless young actress and changes his mind. But the portrait starts to reflect his growing selfishness and cruelty, then as Grey discards the girl, preferring to collect obscure art, it ages instead of him in the attic where he has hidden the revealing work.


The reflections of society are interesting, and we can clearly see what Wilde was not able to say, that some men are more attracted to beautiful young men than they are to women. The threat of revelation was enough to force a man to a dreadful deed. We also see that women have intellect by following a few conversations with them. Family loyalty is important to those who have a close family and the rich of the day think hardly at all of the poor or servants.

I enjoyed the mounting tensions and seeing Wilde's famous lines in context. "The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about," is one. We see a good portrait of London and some country life. To me the book reads as unbalanced by having a long drawn out slow start with individuals speaking for ten minutes each, whereas the end is active, decisive and hurried.