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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You need a special kind of man who understands the way we live now to lead you into that new world of peace and prosperity."
Often considered Trollope's greatest novel, this satire of British life, written in 1875, leaves no aspect of society unexamined. Through his large cast of characters, who represent many levels of society, Trollope examines the hypocrisies of class, at the same time that he often develops sympathy for these characters who are sometimes caught in crises not of their own...
Published on 18 Sep 2007 by Mary Whipple

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The way we live now
I found it desperatley slow and verbose. After a while, I lost interest in the characters and what happened to them
Published 21 months ago by Dr. J. A. K. Davies


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You need a special kind of man who understands the way we live now to lead you into that new world of peace and prosperity.", 18 Sep 2007
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Often considered Trollope's greatest novel, this satire of British life, written in 1875, leaves no aspect of society unexamined. Through his large cast of characters, who represent many levels of society, Trollope examines the hypocrisies of class, at the same time that he often develops sympathy for these characters who are sometimes caught in crises not of their own making. Filling the novel with realistic details and providing vivid pictures of the various settings in which the characters find themselves, Trollope also creates a series of exceptionally vibrant characters who give life to this long and sometimes cynical portrait of those who move the country.

Lady Carbury, her innocent daughter Henrietta (Hetta), and her attractive but irresponsible son Felix are the family around which much of the action rotates. They are always in need of money and Lady Carbury writes pap novels to support the family (and Felix's drinking and gambling). In contrast to the Carburys, and just as important to the plot, are the Melmottes. Augustus Melmotte, who has come from Vienna under a cloud of financial suspicions, has acquired a huge estate for himself, his foreign wife, and his marriageable daughter. Boorish, but determined to become a leader of society, Melmotte provides moments of humor for the reader, though he is scorned by an aristocracy which is nevertheless beholden to him for his investments.

When Melmotte becomes the major investor in a plan to build a railway from California to Mexico, Paul Montague, a handsome engineer who has been working in America, arrives in town. A ward of Roger Carbury, cousin of Felix and Hetta, he soon finds himself in love with Hetta--and in competition with Roger for her hand. Felix courts the Melmottes' daughter for her fortune, and she falls in love with him while he dallies with a local domestic worker. Investors dash to buy shares in the Mexican railway, and their investments ending in the sticky hands of Melmotte, who has bigger plans.

Often addressing the reader directly, Trollope fills the novel with action and subplots which illustrate a wide variety of themes, often depicting his characters satirically to illustrate the social, political, and financial ills of the day. Ahead of his time for his depiction of the lively, intelligent woman whose role is defined (and limited) by her social and financial position, Trollope creates a number of resourceful women--and a number who are willing to do almost anything to marry a wealthy man. As is customary in Victorian novels, the good are rewarded here, and the evil are punished, but Trollope's characters, unlike those by Dickens, for example, usually control their own destinies. Broad in scope, thoughtful in construction, complete in its depiction of 1870s' England, filled with wonderful characters, and absolutely engrossing to read, The Way We Live Now is one of the great novels of the nineteenth century. Mary Whipple
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Homo hominis lupus, then as now, 27 Jan 2009
By 
Didier (Ghent, Belgium) - See all my reviews
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About a year ago I read my first novel by Trollope, 'The Warden'. Somehow, that book captivated me to such a degree that I went on to read all Barshetshire-novels, all Palliser-novels, 'He knew he was right', Trollope's autobiography, to end now with 'The way we live now'. And invariably, I found myself sucked right into the story by the very 'commons sense' (but at the same time very lucid) analysis Trollope makes of his characters' inner feelings and motivations. You may like or dislike his characters, but you are sure to 'understand' them: why they are the way they are and act the way they do.

Is it perhaps because this has become so uncommon in (post-)modern novels that Trollope's books are so charming, so extremely likeable? There's no subterfuge, no need for deep probing (not to say guesswork) into the characters' motivations, Trollope all spells it out clearly for his readers.

Titles say a lot about books, and this is no exception. 'The way we live now' says exactly what Trollope sets out to do: a depiction - and a rather depressing one at that - of the morals of his present day. And it's all the more depressing because of the 'we'... it's not they way 'they' live, no, Trollope readily (and to my mind correctly) addresses all of his contemporaries, and us too.

I will not go into detail about what actually happens in the novel. Suffice it to say that virtually every single character in the book - whether high or low class - is motivated by the kind of emotions we love to condemn (preferably in others): greed, jealousy, deceit, narcisism, egotism, ... and will stop at nothing to satisfy his or her self-interest. The 'Great Financier' Augustus Melmotte (as he is mockingly called by one of his adversaries) is a cheat, a swindler and a a forger and yet - though rumours are rife about his practices - is received by virtually all of London society, because he is wealthy. The young men in the novel waste their time in their club (they are, quite literally, 'a waste of space'), and many of the women too will scheme and lie to reach their goals. Marriage is thought of as a business transaction: the men marrying themselves into money, and the women into high society. Even with the few 'good' characters in the book, Trollope shows us how hard they sometimes struggle to do what they know is right, not to lower themselves to the moral standard everybody around them seems to adhere to.

All in all, a bleak picture of the human race, and 'the way we live now'. As far removed as it may be in time from our present day, the most depressing insight is perhaps that nothing much, if anything, has changed since then. The world is still peopled by 'great financiers', and to what lengths they will go to make a profit has - once again, and probably not for the last time - been proven by the worldwide crisis of the financial markets we witness today.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And still the way we live..., 2 Mar 2009
This sometimes seems, as other reviewers have suggested, a remarkably modern work. As the world economy falls apart, it perhaps shows how short a distance we really travel over time.

The central figure of Melmotte could easily be a character from much more recent times: a man with a cloudy past with a desire to establish himself as an Englishman; a man who forces his way into Parliament; a man who appears to be boundlessly rich; a man who eventually comes to grief; yes, it must be Robert Maxwell...

Trollope's tone is darker than his Barchester era, which possibly suggests a certain cynicism. There's nothing wrong with a good dose of cynicism when dealing with this subject matter, though.

One of Trollope's enearing traits is his no-holds-barred description of his characters. Occasionally sympathetic, but usually scathing, his narrator pulls no punches.

Some 130 years or so on, this should be required reading for MPs, bankers and all the other egotistical fools that imagine themselves to be our betters.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless, 23 Sep 2010
By 
Jharcourt "julesj0" (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Trollope's masterpiece of love, business, ambition & fecklessness is as pertinent today as it was when it was first published. Sharp, witty and compassionate: a fabulous read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still Relevant, 22 Feb 2011
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have a paperback edition of this already, but it was so good to see that I could download a free one to my kindle. First published in book form in 1875 this had already had a popular run in serialization form. At the time this was considered to be Trollope's best work, and indeed apart from the 'Barchester Chronicles' series you can't really dispute that even today.

What Trollope wrote here will always be relevant, as greed will always be with us. This is a scathing satire on the greed that occurs when people think that they can make a lot of money quickly. The story itself has great characters and is an easy read, despite its length, indeed when I first read this from the library it was the first Trollope novel I ever read, and from there on I have read loads of other of his books over the years, with ones like this that I always return to.

This particular tale is ultimately based around what happened with the 'South Sea Bubble', but we still see the same things occuring again and again, and amazingly people still thinking that the next new thing isn't going to be a bubble. If you have never read Trollope before this is as good a place as any to start, and who knows, you may become a life long fan of this writer. Remember though, this is a 19th Century novel, so you have sub-plots as well as the main plot. I know some people don't like that these days, but I always feel that it gives another dimension, and ultimately when you think about it, in real life you are never dealing with just one thing at a time.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "You need a special kind of man who understands the way we live now to lead you into that new world of peace and prosperity.", 2 Mar 2011
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Often considered Trollope's greatest novel, this satire of British life, written in 1875, leaves no aspect of society unexamined. Through his large cast of characters, who represent many levels of society, Trollope examines the hypocrisies of class, at the same time that he often develops sympathy for these characters who are sometimes caught in crises not of their own making. Filling the novel with realistic details and providing vivid pictures of the various settings in which the characters find themselves, Trollope also creates a series of exceptionally vibrant characters who give life to this long and sometimes cynical portrait of those who move the country.

Lady Carbury, her innocent daughter Henrietta (Hetta), and her attractive but irresponsible son Felix are the family around which much of the action rotates. They are always in need of money and Lady Carbury writes pap novels to support the family (and Felix's drinking and gambling). In contrast to the Carburys, and just as important to the plot, are the Melmottes. Augustus Melmotte, who has come from Vienna under a cloud of financial suspicions, has acquired a huge estate for himself, his foreign wife, and his marriageable daughter. Boorish, but determined to become a leader of society, Melmotte provides moments of humor for the reader, though he is scorned by an aristocracy which is nevertheless beholden to him for his investments.

When Melmotte becomes the major investor in a plan to build a railway from California to Mexico, Paul Montague, a handsome businessman who has invested in a railroad in America, arrives in town. A ward of Roger Carbury, cousin of Felix and Hetta, he soon finds himself in love with Hetta--and in competition with Roger for her hand. Felix courts the Melmottes' daughter for her fortune, and she falls in love with him while he dallies with a local domestic worker. Investors dash to buy shares in the Mexican railway, with their investments ending in the sticky hands of Melmotte, who has bigger plans.

Often addressing the reader directly, Trollope fills the novel with action and subplots which illustrate a wide variety of themes, often depicting his characters satirically to illustrate the social, political, and financial ills of the day. Ahead of his time for his depiction of the lively, intelligent woman whose role is defined (and limited) by her social and financial position, Trollope creates a number of resourceful women--and a number who are willing to do almost anything to marry a wealthy man. As is customary in Victorian novels, the good are rewarded here, and the evil are punished, but Trollope's characters, unlike those by Dickens, for example, usually control their own destinies. Broad in scope, thoughtful in construction, complete in its depiction of 1870s' England, filled with wonderful characters, and absolutely engrossing to read, The Way We Live Now is one of the great novels of the nineteenth century. Mary Whipple
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Trollope in the City, 28 Feb 2009
This great book is truly Trollope's masterpiece. The different lines of plot and characters will keep you enthralled. The central personality of Augustus Melmotte is interesting and complex - at times almost Lear like in tragic implications. Here Trollope demonstrates his knowledge of the world, human motives and psychological situations par excellence. A truly great read, and also a very contemporary theme with todays financial scandals in the headlines.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way we live now, 19 April 2011
Trollope could well have been writing today. Aficionados told me that nothing compares to his Barchester novels but the subject matter drew me to this one. Wonderful expose of manners and morals in polite society and in business in Trollope`s day. In any day.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way we live now, 18 Feb 2010
By 
Richard Holland (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Way We Live Now (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
Well, this novel reminds us that there is nothing new - the City high-flier whose financial empire proves to be built on gigantic scams, the scheming author attempting to subborn reviewers for a profitable circulation, the weak-willed who are rescued by their betters only to to supplant them, the turgid undercurrents of racism, the snobbery and competitiveness of utterly selfish wastrels (male and female) who believe the world owes them a living, the autocratic control by one person over another. The book may have been written circa 1876, but it's all in today's news[so familiar to us in the 2010s. There are some marvellously-penned characters framed in Trollope's careful and beautiful English, and thank goodness that a handful of them shed such a glow over the proceedings amidst the scheming and skullduggery of their so-called friends, enemies and family. It's a long book, but well worth the reading. Trollope has often been accused of anti-semitism in this book, but just reflect on which characters are saying the anti-semitic stuff - they are clearly not the ones for whom he has any sympathy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The way we live now, 18 Jan 2008
By 
Charlotte Stevenson (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Way We Live Now (Wordsworth Classics) (Paperback)
This is without a doubt the best book I have ever read. I am currently doing a degree in English and usually find the books dull and boring. I was dreading reading this as it seemed so big and daunting. However, after reading the first 3 chapters I was completely drawn into the Victorian world as depicted by Trollope. The character's are modern, exciting, sexy and dramatic. There is definitely someone in this book for everyone to relate to. My only problem now is deciding which of Trollope's books to read next!!!
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The Way We Live Now (Wordsworth Classics)
The Way We Live Now (Wordsworth Classics) by Anthony Trollope (Paperback - 1 Jun 1995)
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