This is a review of the audiobook narrated by Timothy West, not a review of the novel per se. (I would advise new readers/listeners to Trollope to..Show More » start with Barchester Towers.)
This is an superb performance of Trollope's speaking narrative. Trollope, I think, would love it; it is entirely in Trollope's service. Trollope's style, syntax, and voice are all excellently rendered throughout the 28 hours of storytelling. The acoustic quality is consistently perfect throughout all 28 hours. If West made any mistakes, they were edited out perfectly. The microphone was placed perfectly. I listened to the Audible enhanced MP3 format, which is 800 MB for the unabridged novel. The recording is so good that the lighter MP3 formats are sure to be of the highest quality also.
West's differentiation of individual characters is excellent, as each narrative voice is specific and recognizable and yet not delivered with extravagance. West's aim is to be expressive yet subtle. (Perhaps the subplot with Mrs. Greenow and her two suitors is a bit extravagant, but that is as Trollope wishes.) West renders sustained dramatic dialogue perfectly (very important for one of Trollope's greatest strengths), with just the right timing and nuances of tone. Glencora's quick, witty, passionate voice comes through very well.
In short: The narrator is performed as a speaking voice, and the characters are acted through the narrative voice. Trollope provided the score, and West is a great musician.
This is a long, long book, and the first in a series, though I understand that they mostly stand alone so you don't really have to read them in order...Show More » It centers around three women: one married, one single, and one widowed, and for each of them, the central question is the same - do I go with Mr. Dull and Dependable or do I go with Mr. Good Looks Who Will Spend All My Money and Ruin Me?
It might have been a more exciting book if Trollope was a more radical author, but I'm not spoiling too much to say that Trollope was actually a very conservative author. Everyone ultimately Does the Right Thing in a very Victorian way, but not before flirting with impropriety enough to raise the question asked by the title: Can You Forgive Her?
Besides jilted suitors and gentleman wastrels, there is a bit of Parliamentary politics in this book which I believe assumes greater importance in the future volumes.
Anthony Trollope had the gift of narrative and character development, so if your only exposure to Victorian social drama is Charles Dickens, then give Trollope a try. That said, I would probably start with The Way We Live Now, which I thought was a better book with a more engaging story.
Simon Vance is one of my favorite audiobook readers, and he delivers great Victorian performances equally well with his readings of James Bond novels.
I purchased this book before reading the reviews, but now that I happened to read them, I downloaded Part 3, listened to the final chapter - "The..Show More » Conclusion." The book is next to me on my desk and the end of the book is the same as my download, Chapter LXXVI, "The Conclusion." This is the 6th or 7th Timothy West narration of Trollope that I have bought. His performances are amazing. I hope "Phineas Redux" becomes available by the time I finish listening to "Phineas Finn." I'm glad I didn't read the reviews or I might have missed this one.
If this had been my first Trollope novel, I probably would not have stuck with the read, but overall I liked it. The description of Parliamentary acti..Show More »on many be too detailed for some readers, but as a Canadian with a similar system, reading such a portrait set in the period when Canada's own parliament was working for nation status was interesting.
The occasional "recaps" of plot betray that the novel originally appeared as a serial, and I found that bit annoying.
If you're new to Trollope, I'd recommend that you start with one of the Barset Chronicles rather than Phinneas.
The third novel in the Pallisers series, "The Eustace Diamonds" is the least overtly political, though some of the main characters from the ..Show More »series re-appear in the book in minor roles. It could certainly be read independently of the other books in the series.
Lizzie Eustace is in many respects a latter-day Becky Sharp. Though less ruthless and more self-deceiving than Thackeray's anti-heroine, she is shallow, beautiful, manipulative, and without redeeming qualities. After marrying the dying Sir Florian Eustace for his money, she embarks on an expensive career as a society widow, and the story revolves around her possession—and subsequent loss—of a diamond necklace which has been an heirloom in the Eustace family, and which she claims is her personal property.
Though real-life Lizzies are highly unpleasant people, the fictional version is highly entertaining, and after several hundred pages of gripping legal, criminal and shenanigans, it is hard not to feel sorry when the naughty Lady Eustace is finally delivered up to her fate. The reading, by Timothy West, is top-notch. If you are not familiar with Trollope's work, this is as good a place as any to start.
I worked hard to finish this very meager story that Trollope stretched into a novel. I found myself longing for Dickens to take over so some of the wo..Show More »rking class and the poor could have their say. Almost all the characters were shallow, scheming, lying, and selfish - no one I cared about. The only interesting aspect, in a depressing way, was Trollope's unvarnished portrayal of marriage among the upper classes and those aspiring to reach them and, most of all, conniving to secure enough money to lead a comfortable, genteel life without doing a lick of work. I hope the next Palliser novel is more balanced. This was a slow, depressing slog! Simon Vance was wonderful as always. I could even stand this book because Vance was the narrator.
Timothy West expertly performs a novel that might be more difficult to read on the page. To be honest, I don't understand all the finer points of parl..Show More »iamentary procedure, and since Trollope himself was so ironic about it all, an American reader can feel a bit at sea. West inobtrusively conveys the gist of things, and it's humorously clear that politics itself never really changes. Of course there are a few love stories to sort out, as well as a sensational murder trial. Very funny, occasionally very sad, and always very astute about human nature.
Yes. I have enjoyed reading the whole "Palliser" sries by Trollope, but the two books about our hero - Phineas Finn were the most enjoyable. Set in ..Show More »the late 1880's they are a gentle satire about the "game" of politics that resonates today.
The problem alluded to by other reviews appears to've been corrected, as I heard the complete novel. The incomparable Timothy West illuminates Trollo..Show More »pe's prose in such a way that makes the experience of listening to it far more rewarding than silent reading ever could.
I am just hoping that I won't develop post-Palliser depression! Timothy West is as one with the words.... simply sublime. I so loved this series. The ..Show More »final sentence is one of the most brilliant in literature. Profoundly pleasurable. Thank-you.