©2009 BBC Audiobooks Ltd; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
This is the first book I've read/listened to by Anthony Trollope. I was compelled by the reviews for this book to give it a try and I'm glad that I did. Although the book was published in 1875 the story rings true to "the way we live now" in a universal way that I suppose always will. I have never known a story with so many flawed characters and the trial and errors of these characters, though exasperating at times, are fasanating. I found myself annoyed and compelled all at the same time with these characters- the way I feel about a lot of the people I know and care about in my own life. This book, although slow at times (I dazed through some of the chapters) all in all is well worth the time I invested listening to it. Now on to the next Anthony Trollope novel!
I love Audible because of the peace of mind it brings me. It is the only way I can finish a book before it is shredded by the Basenjis.
I had seen the Masterpiece Theater version of this classic story prior to reading the book and the producers of that BBC productions could not have selected better actors to play the particular characters of this 1875 classic. Both the film and the Mr. West's reading are wonderful.
I'm so glad I stuck with this novel -- a slow start, a lot of unsavory characters making foolish choices, and a narrator whose character voices weren't very distinct one to the next. But this story becomes quite profound on a number of themes: greed, women's rights (or lack of them), class and position in a changing society. Many of the characters struggle with social changes that are challenging the values they hold dear. The way they respond offers wonderful insights into human nature -- the reason I read novels!
Trollope is surprisingly sensitive to the plight of women of all classes in the late 1800s -- their lack of authority over their own lives, trapped by their fathers and brothers and would-be suitors in rigid expectations of behavior, in the pressure to marry well (in rank or in wealth, and hopefully both), but not to marry outside one's class. However, society's values are beginning to change and that makes it harder to know how to choose: it might be okay to stoop to marry someone in business (if they're wealthy) but still not okay to marry a Jew unless your rank is so high you can ignore public censure. Money now opens a lot of doors and breaks down many cultural barriers. However, if a woman's reputation is tarnished (usually undeserved), her chances at a good marriage are ruined forever. At first, Trollope makes us believe that Mrs. Hurtle is someone to scorn, but she becomes someone to admire and finally to pity. I think I liked her best of all, but then she was a plain-speaking American woman attempting to take control of her own fate. Overall, the female characters were the most interesting and most fully-realized. And few of Trollope's characters escape his condemnation of greed and the financial scandals of the day, the most interesting, of course, being "the great financier" Augustus Melmotte. There are Melmottes in every age, and Trollope's look into his soul is brilliant.
Dive into Trollope's world and enjoy!
Perhaps not one of Trollope's best but still more interesting than "The Prime minister" which was the one I took before and actually gave up on half way through.
This one has entertaining side stories and Timothy West's reading is excellent as always.
This is as close to pure enjoyment as literature gets. On the usual literary criteria the book is just short of the highest peak -- beautifully written, insightful but not transformative. But never have I had so much plain damn fun with a book.
It's unnerving how little the basic psychology of financial shenanigans have changed over 150 years.
Timothy West is everything a narrator can be -- interpretive but never intrusive. And an excellent job with both women's voices and American accents
The Way We Live Now is an excellent introduction to the writings of Trollope. It's long, but never boring, and the characters are well-developed.
Some might call Anthony Trollope the male equivalent of Jane Austen and I can see why. But to me his stories had such a different flavor. I liked that not everything always comes out perfectly in his endings. I also liked that some of the books got into the workings of Parliament as it was then. He is very good at portraying his female characters, many of whom are very feisty and colorful.
I started with this stand alone book, became utterly fascinated, then listened to all the Barsetshire Chronicles, followed by all the Palliser series. I have spent the last couple of months in Trollope's world and hated to leave it. There are some other novels left, but I loved each of the two series and having familiar characters come in and out of the various books. Even more so than Austen I became so frustrated with problems caused by the lack of communication (due to cultural restraints of the time) that I wanted to grab the particular character out of the book and shake some sense into them.
And what can I say of Timothy West? I love Simon Vance, but after hearing the samples I went with the West narrations and am so glad I did. He was pitch perfect and his accents were marvelous. He was a large part of how much I enjoyed this entire journey. I became so absorbed into this world that I am not at all sure what to read now.
Wonderful book! Loved the colorful cast of deeply drawn memorable characters. Trollope shows us the effects of living under the emotional and class constraints of English society in the 1870's in a most enjoyable way. This book transported me into their world and let me peek into what they thought and how they felt and why. Although there were quite a few characters to follow, I really didn't mind at all. The droll and witty writing caused me quite a few chuckles along the way. I hated to see it end! Timothy West's narration was masterful and thoroughly entertaining. This was my first encounter with Trollope and West and, I dare say, certainly not my last!
Reading a book like this makes one think about how much time was squandered in those days! I fast forwarded the chapters from time to time and thought that I was still in the same spot!! I did not get a good feeling from listening to this book as it was all about matchmaking in the excruciatingly slow 19th century way. A few political sub-plots and money making scams thrown in for good measure. Women being used and abused or just treated as window dressing. Very uninspiring!
"way better than expected!"
Brilliantly read & an entertaining and compelling story. Looking for now Trollope to add to my library.
Timothy West has all but spoilt me for any other audiobook recording. His voice is mellifluous and his interpretation of the text is intelligent, sensitive, and nuanced. Other narrators please take heed. This is your gold standard.
The novel itself suffers somewhat from obesity and repetition toward the last chapters but up until then, is a searing and sometimes hilarious satire of society's rabid obsession with wealth or the appearance of wealth. Substitute 'Melmotte' for Madoff, Maxwell or Green and we have a true tale of our times. Plus ca change..
I enjoyed every minute of this book.. The narration was superb, Timothy West could make reading the telephone directory come alive!!
"Times change, people don't..."
Timothy West makes all of the characters memorable. Quick, clear voice with a great range. I recommend the book and the narrator.
It's astounding that reading so long a book can pass by in so quick a time (although it was aided by the fact that I couldn't put it down), or that so complicated a tale, with so many threads and characters, could be so easy to follow (though, of course, Trollope is a passed -master at this).
The performance, by Timothy West, is superb, and does full justice to the text.
This book doesn't carry the humour of much of Trollope (I think that his purpose was to be a serious one here), but it more than makes up for it by the superb characterisation and story. Both of these are as relevant today (one has only to look at characters and stories like those of Robert Maxwell, or indeed, Donald Trump) as they were when they were written.
There is therefore no irony at all in reading such a book now, when it has such a title. I really do think that it is The Way We Live Now.
"The way we live now."
A great story, brilliantly read and modern in its insights. An absorbing study of human behaviour.
A literary feast wonderfully performed and both amusing and thought provoking. The more things change the more they remain, essentially, the same!
"Superb reading by Timothy West"
A book from 1873 which deals with themes of relevance to the way we live in 2015. Love and marriage. Corruption and fraud in the world of finance. Snobbery and prejudice. The place of women in society. Very elegant language. Very long book. Too long. Brought to life and made accessible by brilliant reading byTimothy West.
I really enjoyed this, helped by the excellent narration by Timothy West which gave the perfect tone to the book. I wanted to get it as I'd heard that it gives a rather apt commentary on the recent financial situation but I would never have made it through the print version, so I got it in audio too and found it much a more enjoyable experience.
"wonderful narration of classic book"
I chose this as my first Trollope because it featured on the list of 100 greatest novels in The Guardian.
More than anything, the narration is captivating, and this makes a long text seem like a pleasant journey rather than a task to be completed.
The book itself is excellent : hypocrisy, social ambition and greed in high (ish) society are lampooned in a way that resonates strongly in the current financial climate. The love sub-plots (apparently something common to all Trollope books) are less satisfying, but do not detract from the overall success of the book.
I loved this listen, and might have a crack at another Trollope (definitely not a patch on Dickens for me, but still a lot to like), largely because the narration is of the highest order. This book would get into my top 100, but wouldn't threaten the top 75, so if this is the 'best' Trollope, then perhaps it might be better to quit here, but I can imagine Timothy West pulling me back, especially in a 2 for 1 offer . . .
Report Inappropriate Content