Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Middlemarch by George Eliot

This book took me a bit by surprise. I've tried many times to read The Mill on the Floss and failed, so I assumed that Middlemarch wouldn't really interest me either. However, I have to admit, I actually liked it, for the most part anyway.

While reading I kept thinking of Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens. It turned out not to be quite as Hardiesque as the beginning led me to believe, but Elliot does drop into the same long narrative style that Dickens quite often uses. My only real criticism of the book is that sometimes I felt like it could have used a good editor. These bits droned on a tad, but the audio format once again helped me not succumb to boredom and give up. I suppose you could add a similarity to Jane Austen too, but to tell of that would give the plot away.

Middlemarch basically boils down to a soap opera set in an English villiage in the later half of the 19th century. Who did what with whom and when and what happened as a result. Many times you could see that the characters were walking into a mistake, however, much of it turned out quite surprising in the end. Some of the events the reader finds himself hoping for turn out to be a mistake for one or more of the characters, while some things that seem foolish turn into positive experiences. This twists and turns of the plot keep the story interesting while forcing the reader to constantly reappraise his opinions of both the characters and their actions. All in all, I found it quite a good book.

1 comment:

Lula O said...

I've not read this one, but have read Mill on the Floss (super depressing - yech) and I'm happy that this one is better. I'll have to give it a try. Is this like your 4th classic already this month? You're awesome!