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The Way We Live Now (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – December 2, 1999
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Top Customer Reviews
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 Paul Montague, a young businessman who has invested in a railroad in America, arrives in town, he finds himself in love with Hetta--and in competition with Roger Carbury for her hand. Felix courts the Melmottes' daughter for her fortune, and she falls in love with him while he dallies with a local domestic worker.Read more ›
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!
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A Victorian novel with many contemporary resonances. Who could fail to notice the links between the notorious financier, Augustus Melmotte and the ponzi scheme he used to lure... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sirin
As a Trollope fan, I was pleased to find this novel on a list of the 100 best English novels. However, after rereading it I felt that this was definitely not the Trollope novel... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Josette G
Who could NOT like Trollope!! A classic that keeps getting better with time.Published 4 months ago by E. Cates
Trollope's magnum opus, according to many. The Guardian included it in a list of the 100 best novels in English.
Most of Trollope's work was big, and some of it quite great. Read more
My first go at Trollope. I was leery. Great writer, Great story. Lots of pages to enjoy.Published 7 months ago by John Henry
Funny, astute, and directly applicable to the way we all live NOW. Trollope assembles a group of relatable characters, well rounded (women, too! Read morePublished 8 months ago by David M. Roth
This was an excellent book in that it spoke to the character of the times and the characters were droll. It was a loooong book but well worth reading. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Linda Lee Graimm
The author is very readable. The questions regarding violence and sex must be considered with the period in which the book was written: 1875. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Wowzer