Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Way We Live Now - by Anthony Trollope

Free US/UK Kindle Classic
The Way We Live Now
by Anthony Trollope
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope was published in 1875 and apparently reads as if it is, well, the way we live now.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition

Trollope’s books are densely plotted and full of well-developed characters.

To marry and have the command of money, to do her duty correctly, to live in a big house and be respected, had been her ambition,--and during the first fifteen years of her married life she was successful amidst great difficulties. She would smile within five minutes of violent ill-usage. Her husband would even strike her,--and the first effort of her mind would be given to conceal the fact from all the world. In latter years he drank too much, and she struggled hard first to prevent the evil, and then to prevent and to hide the ill effects of the evil. But in doing all this she schemed, and lied, and lived a life of manoeuvres.
Definitely as much 2012 as 1875.
Some people find Trollope a little mannered.  They do not like his obtrusive, fawning, narrator (see my italics in the next paragraph) or his naming characters with surnames that give clues to their character.  But this is all worth overlooking (assuming it bothers you) because story tellers like Trollope are rare.

But we must go back a little. Paul Montague had received a telegram from his partner, Hamilton K. Fisker, sent on shore at Queenstown from one of the New York liners, requesting him to meet Fisker at Liverpool immediately. With this request he had felt himself bound to comply. Personally he had disliked Fisker,--and perhaps not the less so because when in California he had never found himself able to resist the man's good humour, audacity, and cleverness combined. He had found himself talked into agreeing with any project which Mr Fisker might have in hand. It was altogether against the grain with him, and yet by his own consent, that the flour-mill had been opened at Fiskerville. He trembled for his money and never wished to see Fisker again; but still, when Fisker came to England, he was proud to remember that Fisker was his partner, and he obeyed the order and went down to Liverpool.

Trollope is generally viewed as having an earlier period and a later period, the former more gentle and the latter more sardonic; "The Way We Live Now" is definitely late period. The novel was successfully adapted for television and shown in the US & the UK.

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