The Way We Live Now (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Jan 2012
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Trollope's magnificent and prescient satire about a dishonest financier who buys his way into a corr....
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As a lifelong Trollope fan, this shows him at the top of his game. The characters he creates are, as usual, nuanced and believable but in general, there are more unpleasant... Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Catlow
This is an essential classic, and the best of Trollope. Recommended.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Possibly not as good as the Barchester novels or the Pallisers but still very well written. Also free.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
Well drawn portraits of the big characters, especially the central character Melmotte. He is made to be believable - others have drawn attention to a parallel with Robert Maxwell. Read morePublished 11 months ago by David V