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Phineas Finn (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – 28 Jun 2001
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About the Author
Anthony Trollope was born on 24 April 1815 and attended both Harrow and Winchester schools. His family were poor and eventually were forced to move to Belgium, where his father died. His mother, Frances Trollope, supported the family through writing. Trollope began a life-long career in the civil service with a position as a clerk in the General Post Office in London – he is also credited with later introducing the pillar box. He published his first novel, The Macdermots of Ballycloran in 1847, but his fourth novel, The Warden (1855) began the series of 'Barsetshire' novels for which he was to become best known. This series of five novels featuring interconnecting characters spanned twenty years of Trollope's career as a novelist, as did the 'Palliser' series. He wrong over 47 novels in total, as well as short stories, biographies, travel books and his own autobiography, which was published posthumously in 1883. Trollope resigned from the Post Office in 1867 and stood for Parliament as a Liberal, though he was not elected. He died on 6 December 1882.
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Top customer reviews
Finn is something of a ladies man but Trollope writes him beautifully as someone who seems to blunder accidentally into good fortune and an interest in several women without the faintest trace of self-knowledge. He is unassuming, charming, deliciously shallow and, we are told, handsome to look at. Men and women alike are taken in by him.
Trollope as always slowly builds the many strands of his story from the start. But as you read on through, the narrative gathers pace until it is bowling hypnotically along with its own momentum. After the first 200 pages it becomes unputdownable as events and personalities unfold sometimes as you thought they would, and other times ending in surprise.
My favourite charcter became Lord Chiltern. He grew on me every time he appeared. He's a plain-speaking, unsophisticated man who has gained a reputation for being violent and difficult but gradually I began to wonder how much was truth and how much hearsay. He is the anti-thesis of the charming but deceptive Phineas Finn. Chiltern is disliked while Finn is admired and favoured by the same people and so Trollope makes his point that what you see isn't always what you get.
Phineas is a penniless Irishman (his father being a modest country doctor) who, against all expectations (including his own) is elected to the British Parliament. This not only introduces him to the political world of the day (which Trollope describes with great acumen and at times sarcasm) but also to London society, where Phineas soon becomes a favorite. But before long Phineas is faced with two dilemmas. In his political life he has to decide whether, having become a government employee, it is his duty to always vote as the government does or to follow his own judgement (perhaps at the cost of his job). In his private life he is torn between staying true to his Irish childhood-love and (since she is penniless too) forsaking his dreams of a grand political career, or to dump her for one of the London heiresses...
The whole story is masterly told by Trollope whose style, once you've been introduced to it, is ever so charming and really like no other. I've been charmed and seduced by every single novel of his I've read so far and this one is no exception. Thoroughly recommended!
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