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The Way We Live Now (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – December 2, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Trollope's 1875 tale of a great financier's fraudulent machinations in the railway business, and his daughter's ill-use at the hands of a grasping lover (for whom she steals funds in order to elope) is a classic in the literature of money and a ripping good read as well. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"The Way We Live Now is the essence of Trollope. If he had written no other novel, it would have ensured his immortality." --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford World's Classics
  • Paperback: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; Reprint edition (December 2, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192835610
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192835611
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 1.9 x 5.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,727,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

154 of 157 people found the following review helpful By Mollie O. on December 3, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I consider it to be a tragedy that Anthony Trollope's works are largely forgotten and overlooked by the reading public. So many well-educated people have never even heard ot him, although his novels are some of the best representatives of what a good novel should be! His beautiful storytelling in "The Way We Live Now" is just another example of Trollope at his best. A master raconteur, his vivid descriptions and cutting satire make this work one of his most controversial (at least at the time) and indeed one of his most respected. Though his longest work, it certainly does not seem long because he keeps the reader on his toes, so much so, that he is dying to know what will happen next. The best thing about the book, in my opinion, is the fact that it is difficult to find a character whom you can like. Each one, and there are many, has one or more particular faults, and we, as the readers, quickly realize that no one is perfect. Even the sympathetic characters are prejudiced at times. This, I believe, is a marked contrast to Dickensian personnages who much of the time are almost too angelic or cruel to be believable. Trollope give us a lesson in true human nature, one that will be very hard for me to forget.
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Format: Paperback
Often considered Trollope's greatest novel, this satire of British life, written in 1875, leaves no aspect of society unexamined. Through his large cast of characters, who represent many levels of society, Trollope examines the hypocrisies of class, at the same time that he often develops sympathy for these characters who are sometimes caught in crises not of their own making. Filling the novel with realistic details and providing vivid pictures of the various settings in which the characters find themselves, Trollope also creates a series of exceptionally vibrant characters who give life to this long and sometimes cynical portrait of those who move the country.

Lady Carbury, her innocent daughter Henrietta (Hetta), and her attractive but irresponsible son Felix are the family around which much of the action rotates. They are always in need of money and Lady Carbury writes pap novels to support the family (and Felix's drinking and gambling). In contrast to the Carburys, and just as important to the plot, are the Melmottes. Augustus Melmotte, who has come from Vienna under a cloud of financial suspicions, has acquired a huge estate for himself, his foreign wife, and his marriageable daughter. Boorish, but determined to become a leader of society, Melmotte provides moments of humor for the reader, though he is scorned by an aristocracy which is nevertheless beholden to him for his investments.

When Melmotte becomes the major investor in a plan to build a railway from California to Mexico, Paul Montague, a young businessman who has invested in a railroad in America, arrives in town. A ward of Roger Carbury, cousin of Felix and Hetta, he soon finds himself in love with Hetta--and in competition with Roger for her hand.
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57 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Gary L. Misch on March 16, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book based on a Newsweek recommended reading list. It concerns greed, pursuit of position, and fraud in late 19th century London, but most of the story line reads as if it could have been set in 2008, during the financial scandals on Wall Street. There is even a Bernard Madoff type figure in the story. There is also a BBC/PBS adaptation available on DVD. It is also excellent, but necessarily lacks some of the richness of detail that we find in the book. I don't think of Tollope's books as page turners, but I got to a point where I didn't want to put this down. Perhaps in a few years the material won't seem as fresh, but right now it's very timely.
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47 of 52 people found the following review helpful By M. S. Tucker on December 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
This work of literature encompassing life among the upper-crust of society in Victorian England is by far the best fictional representation I have ever read.
Trollope creates fantastic characters from the saintly/virginal society girl who pines for a lover, to a dastardly gentleman who squanders his families small fortune on rather unsavoury habits such as gambling and less than scrupulous women.
Most of this is told through the perspective of the matriarch of one family (Lady Carbury) who's only wish is that her son (a scoundrel at best) marry well and with any luck above his station (which he tries to sabotage at every turn) and for her daughter to marry into wealth at any cost whatsoever. That with the general gossip and the "Newcomer's from Paris" (The Family Melmotte) who left Paris hurriedly it seems under a rather dark cloud of suspicion will keep you glued to this book throughout. It is a very lengthy novel (481 pages) but you will be desperately turning the pages in the Appendix hoping for just a bit more!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By C.Allison on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Aside from the fact that this book takes place 125 years ago, it could be an end of year round-up for the corporate and political scandals of 2002. Trollope takes a deft look at the conditions of a culture that allow the Melmottes of the world to walk in and wreak havoc, (laziness, entitlement, greed) and one gets a very queasy feeling watching the bubble inflate, followed by the inevitable collapse of the whole house of cards. At least Melmotte doesn't take the whole country down with him. We may not be so lucky.
On the down side, I'm guessing (it feels like) these chapters were published in newspaper form before they were assembled for the book, as each chapter contains much unnecesary reiteration, and if you're reading straight through it can be annoying. In addition, Trollope doesn't have Dickens' delicious wit or keen insight into character, and some plots which seem to be headed for the interesting turn of event are instead allowed to dangle or resolve themselves dully. (I'm thinking particularly of Mrs. Hurtle here.) And for me, the fact that there is no one to take a particular interest in, no moral compass so to speak, left me feeling a bit adrift. Yes, people are deeply flawed. But one character who was perhaps a bit less flawed than the others would have given me something to hang my hat on.
Still, a page turner par excellence.
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