I think by far the biggest hurdle to get over in this project, whether contributors have read the book before or not, is trying to imagine a context in which the story is utterly unknown and new to them. I was thinking this in particular as I was reading the opening lines – forever entrenched in the public consciousness – and realising that, without the blurb on the back of the book, or a handy cover picture, readers had no idea when this story was set or what it was about. So the first two paragraphs are essentially this magnificent tease as Dickens hints at the period, but delays confirming it.
And of course there are many other instances you can see throughout where questions are being constantly flung at the reader, some answered within this volume and some not – which two cities is this story about? Who is being recalled to life, and why were they “buried alive” in the first place? Dickens really dances the line between enticing and frustrating in this opening part!