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George Eliot - Middlemarch
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Middlemarch

by George Eliot

The fictional provincial English town of Middlemarch is a place where commonsense and common decency prove to be of greater value than high intelligence and high status. George Eliot's mammoth work is a novel rich in interesting, but believable characters conversing in always entertaining and realistic dialogues.

Middlemarch is an exceptionally well written book. Difficult to criticize. But I'll give it a go.

The key fault of the book is its length. No. The key fault is the amount of the book devoted to the dreary Dorothea Brooke and her unfortunate marriage to a much older and infinitely more dreary man.

Consequently, for the first third of the novel, the feeling is 'Must I continue with reading this!"

In the second half of the novel something changes. The characters take wing, the plot powers along like a boulder rolling downhill. The chapters fly past and there is much less of Eliot's intrusive observations about her creations which mar the first part of the novel.

It's almost as though the novel is written by two different people.

Perhaps inevitably a novel of this length, doesn't quite know what it wants to be: it is part comedy, part tragedy, part romance. There is a satirical angle to the work, but this aspect of the novel is never fully exploited.

There is a curious feel to the novel that the sum of the parts is distinctly more than the whole. Which is to say the novel lacks any overall theme.

The Blackstone Audiobook edition is read by Nadia May whose reading does justice to Middlemarch's well drawn characters and rich dialogue, but fails to make the most of the finely wrought narrative.

Published by Blackstone Audio and read by Nadia May.

Litrev Rating

Overall 3______

Suspense 5______
Characters 5______
Plot 5______
Audio 2______
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