Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Way We Live Now summary

I chose The Way We Live Now as part of the The Classics Circuit’s tour of Anthony Trollope. Rebecca Reid does a wonderful job coordinating the various tours and has provided a retrospective post that links to various posts by book bloggers on works by Trollope. I didn’t finish in time to be included but I am glad I decided to explore a novel by Trollope.

The Way We Live Now provides Trollope’s satiric look on the modernizing world of his day and the inability of many individuals to retain a moral compass amid the changes. Throughout the novel, Trollope provides criticism of and sympathy for his characters. Despite many dark portraits and sections, Trollope also provides a lot of humor.

One central theme looks at pervasive dishonesty, located in financial, political, and moral aspects of everyday life. Mr. Melmotte, an extraordinary swindler, was based on fact and anticipates many more financial schemes to come. Trollope makes it clear, though, that the swindler doesn’t act alone—he needs someone willing and able to be fleeced. What Trollope couldn’t anticipate was governments swindling money or perpetrating Ponzi schemes that would make a Melmotte or Bernie Madoff look like pikers.

Highly recommended—except for the first 75 pages, when Trollope sounded like a prudish scold, I thoroughly enjoyed this. There are a few resolutions that feel pat or formulaic, but they did not detract from the pleasure at all.

Posts on The Way We Live Now

Online resources for The Way We Live Now

But there was much it forbad him to do: thoughts on the first 100 pages

Plowing and sowing: through the first 24 chapters

Who does not know the smile?: a quote on engagement

A peculiar bitterness: an extgended quote on Mr. Melmotte

Such weapons as she possessed: topics from chapters 25 – 50

A swindler greater than other swindlers: topics from chapters 51 – 75

He does not wish to see: topics from chapters 76 – 100

Our Kinsman, Mr. Trollope: Cynthia Ozick’s essay on Trollope and The Way We Live Now

The Way We Live Now: 2001 TV series

1 comment:

Rebecca Reid said...

thanks for the warning on the beginning. I'll have to plow through it to get to the good stuff :)