If the world was burning, this is the book I would save.
There are two components that make a classic novel great: the story, the idea. Great story writing is a skill that can be taught. Conveying a great idea comes from observing the truths of life and clarifying them. The Count of Monte Cristo is the greatest book of all time because it combines the two of these perfectly. Despite being over 1000 pages it has a story so enthralling that it is a true 'page turner'.
Dumas creates the protagonist Dantes to be the human version of God; a perfected, unreachable human state. In essence, he creates the Ideal Man, and by doing this, he indirectly defines morality, mortality and everything in between.
The only problem with The Count of Monte Cristo, is that after reading it, all other books acquire a bland insipid taste in comparison.
Quote me on it:
- The best book of all time
- Captures the Ideal Man as painted by man himself
- 1000+ pages will fly by
Other contenders for all time best:
- One Hundred Years of Solitude - García Márquez
- To Kill a Mockingbird - Lee