(P)1988 by Recorded Books, Inc.
Silas Marner is a bit sentimental by modern standards, but is a good story still. I found the characters somewhat thinly drawn, and the audio quality of this reading rather poor. Even a bit of road noise tended to drown out large chunks of the narrative.
I am giving this book five stars because of its content, and not the recording. I'll discuss the recording below.
What makes this book fascinating is what readers generally find in George Eliot's work: a concern with ethics, religion, and humanity. Eliot approaches these topics in this text through the figure of Silas Marner, a weaver who has been wronged by the (religious) community he grew up in and, as a result, lives a solitary life.
Eliot tries to show how social constraints affect the way we think about people and the world, as well as the great struggle that people have when their faith in people and the world are challenged. Eliot never gives us simple answers; instead she asks us to think about why we hold the values we do and how these values are constructed.
The book is a quick and pleasurable read. It is also very sad. You will likely find yourself not being able to put the audiobook down, so to speak.
One note of caution: this recording is absolutely terrible. It took me a couple of hours--despite the fact that I listen to audiobooks often and am accustomed to English accents--to adjust to the narrator's voice, largely because of the poor recording and despite the narrator's beautiful reading. I usually listen while walking my dog, and had trouble hearing the book when there was even the slightest noise around me. If you plan on listening to the book at home, this may not matter to you.
Set in nineteenth-century England, Silas Marner is a weaver who has moved to a new town, Raveloe. Repulsed by his appearance and cataleptic fits, he is ostracized by the community. After losing his faith and having his fortune stolen from him, his fortunes change over time.
The fascinating subject is not Marner but the town, Raveloe, whose characters are of particular interest. It is interesting how Eliot spends more time discussing their thoughts and actions than the does Marner, the title character.
I was interested in this book from reading Middlemarch and found Marner to be decidedly more entertaining, but not as in-depth. Yet there are important themes found in Marner--the loss of faith, the good of the community vs. the rights of the individual, and the importance of social class (this is present in every British novel).
Marner is a masterpiece because it is written by a woman in the nineteenth century and one of George Eliot’s great works. It is also an entertaining book to read, and not too difficult, seeing its short length. Those interested in reading Eliot may want to start with this classic.
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