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The Way We Live Now: (A Modern Library E-Book) [Kindle Edition]

Anthony Trollope
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

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Book Description


'Trollope did not write for posterity,' observed Henry James. 'He wrote for the day, the moment; but these are just the writers whom posterity is apt to put into its pocket.' Considered by contemporary critics to be Trollope's greatest novel, The Way We Live Now is a satire of the literary world of London in the 1870s and a bold indictment of the new power of speculative finance in English life. 'I was instigated by what I conceived to be the commercial profligacy of the age,' Trollope said.

His story concerns Augustus Melmotte, a French swindler and scoundrel, and his daughter, to whom Felix Carbury, adored son of the authoress Lady Carbury, is induced to propose marriage for the sake of securing a fortune. Trollope knew well the difficulties of dealing with editors, publishers, reviewers, and the public; his portrait of Lady Carbury, impetuous, unprincipled, and unswervingly devoted to her own self-promotion, is one of his finest satirical achievements.

His picture of late-nineteenth-century England is a portrait of a society on the verge of moral bankruptcy. In The Way We Live Now Trollope combines his talents as a portraitist and his skills as a storyteller to give us life as it was lived more than a hundred years ago.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com 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.

Review

"The Way We Live Now is the essence of Trollope. If he had written no other novel, it would have ensured his immortality."


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1373 KB
  • Print Length: 1024 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 161949244X
  • Publisher: Modern Library (November 1, 2000)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1KXY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #908,035 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
133 of 136 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Forget Dickens, Trollope is where it is at! 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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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
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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51 of 54 people found the following review helpful
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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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Those Who Forget the Past .... 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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
suprisingly contemporary.
Published 5 days ago by Jeff Miller
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Nice read.
Published 12 days ago by joseph kerrigan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great satire. And timely. Melmotte puts one in mind of Bernie Madoff.
Published 19 days ago by john woodley
5.0 out of 5 stars Again it's sensational and we see and hear so many ...
Again it's sensational and we see and hear so many Melmonts there days who cry out 'I've done nothing wrong!!!
Published 21 days ago by julia l parker
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is quintessentially Trollope with wonderfully described...
This book is quintessentially Trollope with wonderfully described characters and rich plots and subplots. It is a lengthy book but intriguing throughout. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Mary Glisson
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Still in the process of reading. Very interesting view of life in 19th century.
Published 1 month ago by Martin Valenta
1.0 out of 5 stars Poorly edited, almost unreadable.
My complaint is with the editor/publisher/printer not Mr. Trollope. Unfortunately I did not begin reading this book right away and it is too late now to ask for a refund. Read more
Published 1 month ago by vena
2.0 out of 5 stars Great novel, copy-editing on Penguin Kindle edition is ghastly
I can't contribute much to a century of literary criticism of the novel itself, but the number of typos and misprints in the text (Penguin, Kindle edition) is inexcusable. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Concerned Citizen
5.0 out of 5 stars There was not a dull moment in the 800 pages -- one of those ...
After not reading any Trollope since college, and recently seeing the magnificent BBC
production of The Way We Live Now, I read the novel. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Barbara W. Smigel
5.0 out of 5 stars A Trollope Masterpiece
This is one of the best of Trollope's novels. It is set in the late Nineteenth Century (1870s) when things are changing and people, some at least, live differently than in earlier... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Milton Garber
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