4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Superb social comedy,
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This review is from: The Prime Minister (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
The Prime Minister contains two interlacing stories: the career of Plantagenet Palliser, the hero in the series of which this novel is the crowning part, and the tribulations of the London heiress Emily Wharton in love and marriage. I thought the insider's view of parliamentary and cabinet politics would be the novel's attraction. Actually the struggles of Emily Wharton, who has made a love match to a dangerous adventurer, turned out to be more exciting. Trollope was a master storyteller, and that tale is full of interesting surprises as well as sharp, entertaining dialogue. The political story tends to form a lighter backdrop to it.
The Prime Minister is indeed half social comedy and half psychological. It is a cross, perhaps, between Evelyn Waugh and George Eliot. It tends, besides, to be interested in the emotional side of politics and in the effect of social mores on private life, not the other way around. It is also prejudiced (the villain is a swarthy Latin, and he is an arch-villain), though somehow that doesn't shock too much (so am I: a swarthy Latin, I mean, not an arch-villain). But most importantly, it is a compelling read.
Two more points. First, it is not necessary to have read the previous Palliser novels to enjoy this one. Second, in spite of its length, it is quickly read, even if the last hundred pages are superfluous (the work was serialised and expected to reach a certain length).