Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 70% off Fashion Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars255
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£1.99+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

Showing 1-10 of 47 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on 28 February 2011
This is an American production, but is read with an almost perfect English accent. There are just a few American pronunciations, but these do not detract from the reading. The pace is good, and the reader brings out both the humour in the novel and the narrator's voice, which is strongly emphasised in the novel itself. I bought these CDs to listen to when I am driving, as I often drive quite long distances. At first, I put two of the CDs at a time in my CD changer, but have now added a third, as I never get bored or distracted and, just as the book is "unputdownable", these CDs keep you listening. They really make long journeys a pleasure. I have recently seen a British set of CDs of Middlemarch at £85, nearly three times as much as this set, so I think this one is excellent value for money. It would be equally good for someone who has never read the novel, and would make them want to read the book. The set includes an e-book, although this was missing from my set. However, I didn't bother to get it as I think the main attraction of this set is being able to listen to it. I would certainly recommend this set.
0Comment3 of 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 4 August 2009
This story is somewhat off my usual fayre. Ostensibly it is a romance story, or rather three romance stories that are intertwined. As such it is a book I never before bothered to read as I would not want my cool macho image to be dented by the sight of me flicking through a romance! But I managed to get a copy for my e-reader from "Manybooks" and thus read it in secret!

And I am very glad I did so. Of course, this is a classic so the judgement of history is already there as to the worth of this book, and nothing I add here can change that. Without a doubt this is a book that can be read and enjoyed by many many people. What I can add to this is that it can also be enjoyed by people who do not go in for icky romances! And the reason I can say that is that the real strength of this story does not lie in the romances themselves, but in the wonderful observation ad depiction of life in the 1830s of rural England.

From the opening pages where you have people namedropping Wilberforce and other such luminaries in their social circles, you are drawn into experiencing life amongst the tight Victorian social circles. You see how people wish to better not just themselves but others, but are often frustrated by the cages of convention. You see characters reform themselves, and others ruin themselves. You see people who are not evil and yet do evil deeds for human reasons. You see a mirror on the souls of the characters and ultimately ourselves as readers.

George Eliot's characterisations are wonderful. Her writing is still accessible to the modern reader, and whilst she makes some use of techniques where the narrator knows all and can moralise on the reader's behalf - something you would not find in a modern work - these techniques do not wholly detract from the work, and were - of course - quite common in Victorian fiction. One plot element also reminded me of Dickens in the unfolding coincidences in the background of two characters. But whilst the work is therefore clearly Victorian, it remains very readable. The auction scene and some other scenes were very funny, and as you recognise the types of characters being portrayed in real people - past and present - you will be amused by this work.

So if, like me, you don't do romances - don't skip this work. It is well worth reading.
11 comment23 of 26 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 10 September 2006
In Middlemarch Eliot gives us a glimpse of rural life in England, during the 1830's. The central theme in this book is the connection between religion and worldliness, that affects the lives of the different characters in different ways.

Eliot's style is sharp and detailed and she alternates the serious tone of the book with enough humour and cynicism.

The most fascinating aspect of this book for me are in the numerous complex characters, often driven by ambition and blinded to the consequences for themselves and others.

A beautiful book, but not an easy read and not full of suspension, so if that's what you're looking for, you had better skip this book. But if you love classics like the works of Bronte and Hardy, this book definitely belongs on your list, that is, if you have the tenacity to read this 800 page novel.
11 comment29 of 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 June 2011
This is beautiful book, as an object: small gem with golden borders and handy sized! Reading Middlemarch in 2011 seems a bit extravagant but in case one is not an Englishman and one wishes to know the language better - well, who could be a better teacher than George Eliot? And it is not only the language: the story and Eliot's cynical wisdom that concerns human nature, her short but sharp tongue when she describes our secret needs and the deceitful image we create of ourselves and believe in... well, she is the author to listen to!
There is nothing outdated in the story, either.
0Comment9 of 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 November 2010
This is, in lots of ways, the quintessential nineteenth century English novel: a panorama of lives which cross the class, gender and economic divide.

Eliot has a leisurely style but this allows her to get securely beneath the skins of even her minor characters and create men and women who we recognise, love, are irritated by, just as we are in real life.

At the heart of the book are Dorothea Brooke, a beautiful idealist who just wants to do good but can't quite work out how; and her opposite, Doctor Lydgate, who also loses his direction in life. Both are ambitious, albeit in different ways, and both are, to some extent, thwarted and diverted. It's especially interesting that Eliot doesn't make them into a couple, and marries them each off to other people.

There are many such parallels and similarities which play out in the book, moments of crisis, for example, where someone is tempted and has to make a decision which they then have to live with (Mary Garth, Bulstrode). But one of the thing I like about Eliot is that her books don't fall into predictable patterns: indeed, one of her themes is the endless potentiality of life which can turn on momentary decisions.

For all her realism, Eliot is in tight control of her story and inserts a narrative voice into the text which draws on the specific to make general points about life.

Eliot might not have the sparkle and wit of Austin, or the gothic intensity of the Brontes, but she's supremely intelligent and not afraid to show it.
0Comment18 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 8 October 2001
George Elliott's Middlemarch is well worthy of the title "classic". Viewing fundamental Victorian cultural norms through the eyes of provincial characters, Elliott exposes problems at the heart of social conventions. Through the marriage of the pious and intelligent Dorothea to a passionless older man, we are given insight into the poignant reality of a stifling Victorian marriage. The use of such believable characters to explore this situation makes for a particularly moving and real portrayal. The loveless marriage between two such unsuitable people is very clearly cited as a cause of misery for both parties, and the reader cannot help but empathise with the restrictive and nightmare quality of an unhappy, yet indissoluble marriage.
In tandem with this intriguing human-interest story, Elliott delineates the progress of a brilliant young doctor, as he attempts to overcome outmoded practices. Originally written as two separate stories, Elliott realised the additional impact from integrating two plots into one novel. The result is a book which provokes thought concerning all areas of Victorian society. This is a novel which crackles with dry humour as a sardonic narrative voice commentates on the society it observes. Frequently irrelevant, but always readable, Elliott directs us through a plethora of minor characters, all of whom are intriguing snap-shots of provincial characters, who embolden the main themes with colour and humour. Elliott's sudden reassertion of the novel as an objective history is perhaps her most brilliant conclusive stroke ever, and places this timeless novel firmly in the classics section of any book store.
0Comment18 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 August 2008
It really shows that Carole Boyd, who reads this audio version, has spent years working on The Archers. She easily holds your attention and all the characters are distinguishable from each other. The reading is complemented by short sections of music at appropriate points. I could listen to it repeatedly.
0Comment2 of 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 24 May 2012
Useful collection of the essential George Eliot in a practical format. Navigation between different novel clear and practical. Excellent value.
11 comment8 of 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 30 March 2013
The first thing that I think is worth noting is, as with many Victorian novels, especially those later deemed 'classics' is, it is very very, long; but more than that, it is too long. There is padding to the story, which accounts for around 25% of the word count. Worse - the padding is page after page of narrative from the author's own viewpoint; it is clear that George / Mary Ann had a great understanding of the human condition, and used her intellect / knowledge / experience to dissect the psyche of all the characters. The trouble is, it is superfluous to the tale. But gripe over, despite the excess print, paper and glue, what remains is a superb story - or stories.

Set in the fictional Midlands region of Middlemarch in the 1830s, the tale has many central characters, and even after this, a strong supporting cast, (to swap to movie buff mode for a moment). It has more than a touch of the Pickwick's about it also, as not all strands of story concerning one or more group of characters ever turn out to be linked, but many are, and I think this oddity works very well in its favour.

As usual with these tales which, and I know I am years out of date now as it has long happened, it is a tale mostly of the 'big house' not the 'cottage', (although the connections therein are of course adequately covered) and begged to be made into a lavish period drama, which of course, did happen and not too long ago. There's the gentry with money, the gentry without; there's those who are on high but their empire sits on misery, while others would put Job and the Lord out of their jobs, but, and being sadly realistic for then and now, get nowhere fast. There's the ubiquitous bohemian, the friendly uncle, the wicked uncle, the good husband, good wife and their not so good counterparts, lawyers, doctors, farmers, builders, inns, and carriages and four and stables. Relationships good and bad are covered; there's a backdrop of changing monarchs, the Reform Bill, scientific and medical advances, the spread of the railways and its effects on rural Britain, and more. In other words, all the staples, which if done well, make for a great tale of yesteryear, which this is of course, the preachy flowery bits (many of which are so flowery I don't even know what the author is getting at) notwithstanding.

If you fancy either a steady read over several weeks, that's fine as this is just the thing. If you usually read from cover to cover in days, best get a week's worth of shopping in, send the kids to your sisters and give your partner a ton to vanish to the Dog and Duck with, as you'll need much of the waking day over several days to get through this, but whichever is preferred, you'll be glad in the end, to have read one of the truly classic classics, author indulgences to boot.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 November 2010
This is, in lots of ways, the quintessential nineteenth century English novel: a panorama of lives which cross the class, gender and economic divide.

Eliot has a leisurely style but this allows her to get securely beneath the skins of even her minor characters and create men and women who we recognise, love, are irritated by, just as we are in real life.

At the heart of the book are Dorothea Brooke, a beautiful idealist who just wants to do good but can't quite work out how; and her opposite, Doctor Lydgate, who also loses his direction in life. Both are ambitious, albeit in different ways, and both are, to some extent, thwarted and diverted. It's especially interesting that Eliot doesn't make them into a couple, and marries them each off to other people.

There are many such parallels and similarities which play out in the book, moments of crisis, for example, where someone is tempted and has to make a decision which they then have to live with (Mary Garth, Bulstrode). But one of the thing I like about Eliot is that her books don't fall into predictable patterns: indeed, one of her themes is the endless potentiality of life which can turn on momentary decisions.

For all her realism, Eliot is in tight control of her story and inserts a narrative voice into the text which draws on the specific to make general points about life.

Eliot might not have the sparkle and wit of Austin, or the gothic intensity of the Brontes, but she's supremely intelligent and not afraid to show it.
0Comment4 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse