'Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.' It is impossible to be sure who Melmotte is, let alone what exactly he has done. He is, seemingly, a gentleman, and a great financier, who penetrates to the heart of the state, reaching even inside the Houses of Parliament. He draws the English establishment into ...
'Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.' It is impossible to be sure who Melmotte is, let alone what exactly he has done. He is, seemingly, a gentleman, and a great financier, who penetrates to the heart of the state, reaching even inside the Houses of Parliament. He draws the English establishment into his circle, including Lady Carbury, a 43 year-old coquette and her son Felix, who is persuaded to invest in a notional railway business. Huge sums of money are at stake, as well as romantic happiness. The Way We Live Now is usually thought Trollope's major work of satire but is better described as his most substantial exploration of a form of crime fiction, where the crimes are both literal and moral. It is a text preoccupied by detection and the unmasking of swindlers. As such it is a narrative of exceptional tension: a novel of rumour, gossip, and misjudgment, where every second counts. For many of Trollope's characters, calamity and exposure are just around the corner.
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I read "The Way We Live Now" on the recomendation of Jon Meachan, editor of Newsweek, who led an effort to develop a list of 50 books "that make sense of our times." Trollopes's 1875 satirical novel was number one on their list. It describes the financial and moral crisis of Victorian England, a crisis that is very similar to what we are going through today in the U.S. "The Way We Live Now" is a long book with 100 chapters because it was orginally written for serialization in a magazine, a common practice for writers of that era. Nonetheless, it moves quickly and has a surprising number of twists in the plot. I found it a very good read.
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