Book review: Anthony Trollope~ The way we live now (1875)

If you want a long (780 pages) novel that you can wallow in like a warm bath that doesn’t get cold and sweeps along with brilliant writing this is for you. Trollope wrote this in 100 chapters, which were published separately and then gathered together as a complete novel. Maintaining the interest of his readership month after month means there are regular highlights. Trollope’s novels have frequently been turned into TV series because their structure is perfect.

Trollope is wonderful on Victorian society and the absolute necessity of marriage for wealthy young men and women. Marriage was, in essence, a market. Wealthy young women knew that they were being ‘hunted’ by aristocrats who needed an injection of money to fund their impecunious lifestyles. The equation was simple: heiresses had money which aristocrats needed; the women needed a husband. The women bought the men and then allowed themselves to be robbed. Trollope has written a satire about all of this with Sir Felix Carbury being the principal exemplar of the wastrel and Marie Melmotte the female counter-part.

Additionally Trollope has written about the city of London in all of its corrupt amoral beauty. Marie’s father is a crooked ‘prince’ of the city. He’s feted by everyone as he appears to have unlimited wealth. He even becomes MP for Westminster as Trollope trains his fire on Victorian political life. A phony American railway company sheds light on the cupidity of the ‘city’ who care only about quick money. It all blows up but Marie is very much her father’s daughter and defies him to the point that she ends up rich and he ends up a suicide.

Why you should buy this book: It’s a wonderful story.

Why you shouldn’t buy this book: It has a viciously anti-Semitic character

Get it for free at http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/5231

Or at Amazon if you want a hard copy for 99p

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