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Finding a place in "soiciety",
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This review is from: Born In Exile (Kindle Edition)
As some of the other reviewers mentioned, this novel is concerned with the rigid class system of Victorian times, and also the changing attitudes towards religion. This makes it a somewhat ponderous read these days. You sort of need to know what was a conventional view or both religion and society in those days, and what wasn't.
The novel is about a middle class man who wants desperately to fit in to upper class society. This was easier said than done in those days. He might be an atheist, who believes in evolution... but still he wants gain favor with the "right people." In fact he wants it so bad, that he pretends to be something he is not, and goes so far as to begin studying for the priesthood. Well, when he starts a-courtin' one of the upper class ladies her family finds him out.
Peak feels that he was `born in exile' because he feels he should have been born to the upper classes--in spite of his modern and radical views. He does a lot of crummy things to people around him to gain entrance to "society." So the novel is really about conventions, belief and hypocrisy.