Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

January Books 19) The Mill on the Floss

19) The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot (.co.uk, .com)

This had been the book on my unread list marked as "unread" most often by other LibraryThing users (though since starting on it I have acquired two other books that are higher up that list, Catcher in the Rye and Swann's Way). I very much enjoyed Middlemarch when I read it maybe fifteen years ago, but artw warned me that this would be tougher going, and as so often, she was right.

On page 355 of our 495-page edition, the author rhetorically asks the reader, "Had anything remarkable happened?" Well, no, it hadn't really; and once the actual plot got going in the next few pages, I resented the long long build-up of dysfunctional family background, peasants with funny accents, and stifling society, which could have been much more nicely done in a chapter or two. Then the actual plot bit, where our heroine is torn between the two potential lovers and her feelings for her brother, was reasonably good, and I wished that the first two-thirds of the book had been as well-written. But then the ending is a complete cop-out, and totally betrays the feminist views that Eliot has ever so mildly been subversively trying to hint at in the rest of the book. Generations must have thought that her message is "Women, if you Disobey Your Man, God's Judgement will Fall Upon You and you Will Drown (or something equally fatal)." I think for most of the book she was trying to say the opposite, but it is not consistently articulated.

Top UnSuggestion for this book: Programming Perl, by Larry Wall
Tags: bookblog 2007, reading resolutions 2007, writer: george eliot
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