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12 January 2009 @ 11:52 pm
#1  
He Knew He Was Right, Anthony Trollope

Just as a comparison of statistics - Middlemarch was 700ish pages long, and took me the best part of a month to read; HKHWR was 820 pages long, and took me a week. It's not that it's so much better - in comparison to Middlemarch, yes, but Twilight is better than Middlemarch - as that it was an easier read. No high-falutin pseudo-philosophical ramblings here, oh no!

I demeaned myself by reading the foreword when I'd finished. It only served to further my hatred of forewords, because the first thing it said was that Trollope himself didn't think much of this book. Now, I can see why he'd think that, and as it happens I entirely agree - but it colours my opinion too much. From hereon in, I shan't be telling people how crap my writing is. It doesn't change the fact that it's crap, but it will stop me tainting people's enjoyment or dislike of it.



I reached end and immediately had a dream wherein Louis changed his will so that Emily didn't get any of his money. She wrung her hands and said in dire tones, "I shall go back to the Islands!" Now, the thing is, this might have happened. I read over the last chapter and there's no mention of it, but it's still entirely plausible.

If any of the four storylines in this book were a stand-alone, they would have fallen over. The only one that was remotely interesting was Dorothy/Burgess/Miss Stanbury. And most of the action took place offscreen! I was heartily disappointed. We see Miss Stanbury starting out as a cantankerous old lady with some redeeming charitable features, and Dorothy as a mouse who wouldn't say boo to a rat, let alone a goose. Then they spontaneously morph into a generous if eccentric matron and a society belle. What. the. fuck. I would have liked this, if I'd seen any of it happening!

The Trevelyan plot was no end of stupid. I can grasp why it's interesting and how true a picture it might be of a marriage between two pig-stubborn souls, but the medic in me insists that arguments like these don't send people into fatal psychotic decline. And ONE of them should have had the sense to curtail the disagreement before it got this far. (Methinks, also, that if Emily had actually cheated on him, it would have made for a far more interesting tale.)

I wanted more angst from Nora and Hugh than a vague sense of disapproval from her parents. It was obvious their objections were never going to sway Nora, so why have them at all? I still can't see why she fell for him, if he's poor and ugly (Perhaps you think Hugh is handsome. We used to declare that he was the ugliest boy in the country.) and when did they actually court, excuse me? It seemed more of a morality lesson than an actual love story.

In relation to that - Mr Glascock? Like hell would Lady Peterborough have been happy to be friends with Nora - her husband's ex - let alone invite her to stay and be married out of her house! What crack were you smoking, Tony? Is this how it shakes down in your coke-addled haze of a world? Because I gotta tell you, that ain't how things are done down here in Real Towna.

It is funny in a (very few) parts:

[...] it was generally thought of him that he might have been something considerable, had it not suited him better to be nothing at all.

I like the Colonel's thinking. Had I lottery winnings, I'd do the very same.

The unpleasantness of this world consists chiefly in the fact that when a man wants wages, he must earn them.

WORD, says the future doctor.

There is a general understanding that the wooden-legged men in country parishes should be employed as postmen, owing to the great steadiness of demeanour which a wooden leg is generally found to produce.

I can't speak with any great knowledge on this, but ... HA.

Seven years of flirtation with a young lady is more trying to the affection than any duration of matrimony.

Long-term flirting is very trying.

There's the Bishop of Broomsgrove - he's always sauntering about the place, looking as though he'd be much obliged if somebody would just give him something to do.

So totally irrelevant, but lol.

When asked what would be the effect upon the islands, under his scheme of government, if an incoming Colonial Secretary should change the policy of his predecessor, he said that he didn't think it would much matter if the people did not know anything about it.

Shades of Vetinari!

But - LOOK at that. Six smiles in eight hundred pages. He really did write for the sake of it. A LOT.

'Poor Dorothy would never want to have her own way,' said Hugh.
'She ought to want it,' said Mrs Trevelyan.
'She has spirit enough to turn when she's trodden on,' said Hugh.
'That's more than most women have,' said Mrs Trevelyan.


THIS is the only evidence we have of Dorothy, you know, having a personality. Why didn't he bulk up this part and leave Mr Glascock to fuck off and die in Italy?

The beauty of it all was not so much in the thing loved, as in the loving.

One line of philosophy in the whole thing - I'm telling you, that's impressive. I didn't get one page into Henry James before he was philosophising all over my FACE.
 
 
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Taelorromasquerade on January 13th, 2009 12:17 am (UTC)
I've never read this book, and probably never will based on the review you've given it, but you used an icon with House on it, and that makes me go like this: \O/! and grin like a crazy grinning person, so I just thought you should know.

Also, I am a fan of the new layout, in case you were wondering.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Eddie Izzard: flagscoradh on January 13th, 2009 09:48 pm (UTC)
I definitely don't think it's a starter Trollope, unfortunately (and unrelatedly, his name makes me lol and lol).

I really loved House up until the third season when the cases got mad. I think that always happens and non-medical people don't notice because they assume psittacosis always ends up in AMPUTATION, WHUT.

Mmm, isn't it tasty? thefulcrum!
Taelor: rentromasquerade on January 13th, 2009 10:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not going to lie, I laughed pretty hard at Trollope.

Ah, see, yeah. I've only seen the full first season, about half of the second season, and then various random episodes, so I've yet to see the crazy episodes. Of course, that's not to say I'd have any idea -- I'm one of the least medically knowledgeable people, ever, frsrs. I'm also dubious to get to the point where he fires Cameron, Foreman and Chase. AMPUTATION, YOU SAY? It is always more fun when someone has to get something removed.

It is very tasty! I'm jealous of your special-layout-having abilities.