Along with some romance, this is a broadside of satire directed at the gentlemen of the press and of the law. Anthony Trollope beards the lion in its ..Show More »den with this story of the power of a self-important press to inflict great damage on individuals and institutions. Under the guise of public interest reform, a newspaper runs stories which result in the resignation of a decent and kind old man Mr. Harding, as well as the virtual shut down of a charitable, well run, old folk's home. While these are matters of no moment to the newspaper editor except as sensational stories which sells papers, there is real pain and damage inflicted on the innocent. One might conclude from this book: doing what is lawful is not always the same as doing what is right or just. I just love the way this gentle, easily guided, old man takes matters into his own hands and overturns the apple carts and plans of those who considered themselves better suited to guide him than his own principles.
Timothy West's performance of this work cannot be praised enough. He somehow manages the trick of capturing Trollope's brand of humor and subtle jabs and making it accessible to the listener.
I had always intended to read Trollope and never quite made the time. Listening to this engaging narration by Simon Vance made such a pleasure possi..Show More »ble while driving to work. Although one must have a taste for much more intricate prose than is characteristic of today's fiction, Vance's interpretation makes all the different characters recognizable and brings out the humor and minute social observation that keeps Trollope's intrigues of small town and ecclesiastical life in England mid-19th Century so enjoyable even today.
This is my favorite of the Chronicles of Barsetshire. If someone had told me six months ago that I'd ever even pick up a Trollope novel, I woul..Show More »d have needed smelling salts. After recently coming across the very clever Trollope Society web site, I thought there must be some merit to the man's works and downloaded The Warden. I enjoyed every book in the series. There's no Dickenesque social problem exposition, but clever observations on human nature, some nice Victorian prose, lots of opportunity to "read between the lines," and for a Victorian man, some protofeminist ideas (but, unfortunately, he wasn't above his era's racism). I still don't think I would "read" Trollope, but I will listen to everything Audible offers for download. (very good narration though the entire series, too)
I would urge the reader to consider reading the first book in the Barchester series --The Warden--before reading this one. Although one could read Ba..Show More »rchester Towers alone and enjoy it immensely, I think the relationships between the central characters are better enjoyed and savored more fully if one has read about them first in The Warden. (It's relatively short and very enjoyable.)
Still BT is an enjoyable read all by itself and the wonderfully amusing wry asides by the author truly made me laugh out loud. If you yearn for a simpler time, or delight in the very best novels of English country life from Austen to Pym, or simply love an English sentence well-turned, you will enjoy this book. The reader is excellent.
Decided to read this book to fulfill my pledge to myself to read some classic literature. It very quickly turned into one of the most entertaining of ..Show More »the books I have read. Aside from all the Victorian nonsense, the story is quite humerus at the expense of the Anglican Church hierarchy. But perhaps the best part of the recording was the reader, Simon Vance. His interpretation was so well done, that at times I thought I was watching a movie.
Timothy West is absolutely perfect as narrator for Doctor Thorne, one of Trollope's very best. West dexterously highlights Trollope's subtle humor and..Show More » warm stories in a way the printed page cannot. It is a pleasure to listen to his performance and...it is a performance. A love story is the heart of this work but by no means is its muscle and blood. Trollope takes a mighty comic poke at lawyers, business affairs, and politicians. In addition, human frailties and tragedy are important threads woven into the fabric of this tale.
The title of the book could have been Mary Thorne after the heroine, an unusual one for the time: a girl who was born a (using the author's word) bastard, this in a era where birth, blood, rank and wealth was all. As the write up states, the hero, Frank Gresham fell in love with this unsuitable girl. One should point out that the imprudence and follies of his mother, Lady Arabella, had a great hand in reducing the family fortunes to its present state of poverty. Naturally, she had no concept she had any hand in the business and busied herself after the manner of Mrs. Bennet in making good matches for her children...and greatly to the complications of this story, in breaking up unwise ones.
Trollope stories are soap operas no less than Days of Our Lives. There are dozens of major characters who drop in and out of the story as the spotlight falls on this one then that one. The objective is that the story is to continue, after all who wants the story to stop? Not the readers of the serialized Trollope stories or the viewers of today's soaps nor do the writers, sponsors or advertisers; one more installment means one more paycheck for everybody. For instance, Days of Our Lives has been in continuous production for 60 to 75 years since the days of network radio...and Trollope continues also.
I agree with a previous reviewer about the value of good 19th century lit as balm for stress! At the same time, this novel presents an interesting por..Show More »trait of the perception of alcoholism in its day. Trollope seems to highlight a Victorian vice in each movel in he series - that said, all the novels are a comfortable read if your life is too complicated for the angst of contempory lit and you look for prose/characters more substantial than pulp. Although we know there are few real people as sterling as Mary or Dr Thorne, somehow reading about them renews my faith in the potential of human nature.
Dr Thorne and Barchester Towers seem to me the best of the Barsetshire Chronicles, and Thorne especially can be read as a stand alone novel.
interesting similarities of detail between Dr Thorneand Gaskell's Wives and Daughters (published later)--- I think Gaskell was a friend /protege of Dickens, and I think Trollope takes a few minor snipes at Dickens' sometimes ham-fistedness in earlier books of the Barsetshire series, so there may be layers of like trivia to uncover as you listen
Timothy West did a great narration bringing out all of Trollope's subtle humor, sly jabs, the winks and nods. Lawyers, newspapermen, financers and chu..Show More »rchmen come under a broadside from Trollope's heavy guns. He unloads his full wicked wit on the whole disgusting tribe. It was an excuse for writing a perfectly lovely comedy of romantic entanglements. The cunning back-stabbing political and match-making schemes, as well as shadow cat fights are exquisite. For instance, the extremely rich, not particularly lovely, older heiress Miss Dunstable seemed to attract only offers which pass as corporate mergers. I think her first appearance was in "Dr. Thorne" where the financially embarrassed Greshams tried merging her with the family heir. The poor girl is bombarded with proposals or should I say get rich schemes for the proposers. I love the conclusion of her numerous courtships having forgotten it was in this book. Miss Dunstable's is not even the best romance in this story; in best one, I won't even tell you what the girl made the suitor do. It is agonizingly perfect. Psst, it has something to do with what his haughty disapproving mother has to do. I think that Trollope believed that overzealous attempts of mamas and papas to bring about the marriage of a son or daughter generally had contrary and often humorous effects. At least that is what happens in his books including this one. What I really like about Trollope is he generally doesn't lead the reader on then pull the rug from beneath one's feet at the conclusion. As an example of rug pullers I give you Mary Ann Evans a.k.a. George Eliot, "The Mill on the Floss" or that gosh awful woman, Edith Wharton. Most probably disagree with me but hey, I read them but still growl. Another thing I like about Trollope is his partiality for the unsuited but worthy lover very much on display in "Framley Parsonage". This is a totally satisfying story from a great writer.
Hooray for Audible for adding this and Doctor Thorne to their library. Simon Vance does a nice job reading. If you are new to Trollope, you are bett..Show More »er off reading the Barsetshire series in order for a full appreciation of some of the secondary characters in this novel. Start with The Warden.
This is a fabulous story, splendidly narrated by Timothy West. Lily Dale is at times an infuriating heroine. She makes me want to jerk Anthony Trollop..Show More »e out of his grave, slap him up side the head, then force him to rewrite a couple of spots in this otherwise perfect story then afterwards dumping his bones in an inglorious heap. But after forgiving George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans) for the ending of The Mill on the Floss, I guess I have to be consistent and let Trollope slide on this one. On the other hand, there is a wonderful awkward moment when Johnny Emes is forced to propose to Lilly Dale in the presence of her mother. Austen, the queen of awkward moments, could not have done better.
Trollope wrote for the daily papers, one episode every day or so, soap opera fashion so there is a leisurely pace to his stories with lots of odd characters who flit in and out of the story according to their wont. Sometimes, it seems as if the author gets sidetracked but he always manages to bring the story back to the main point and be darned if he doesn't shoehorn it altogether into a coherent whole. I shake my head in admiration at a writer who can juggle dozens of characters without flubbing or dropping a single one from the opening word to the final period, a thousand pages later.
Timothy West, the narrator or performer, took this complex work and made it intelligent able and enjoyable to the listener with tremendous talent, skill and obvious understanding.
Here's a story to sink into and lose yourself for hours and hours. Trollope was one of the great early psychologists. His characters are brimming wi..Show More »th life, pride, longing, courage and foolishness, and the effect of so many lives overlapping and colliding is mesmerizing. This is an old-fashioned story, and once in motion it seems unfair that it must end. Pitch-perfect reading. Go for it!
This is one of the few Trollope novels I had not read. It re-introduces several characters from earlier Barchester Chronicles, wrapping up their story..Show More »lines. But, to be honest, I had encountered them so many years ago, I couldn't really remember them. So I am pleased to report that this book holds up entirely on its own, as a lovely, comic and touching conclusion to Trollope's clerical novels. I found myself walking miles further because I was on tenterhooks about the fate of these gentle (or ambitious or exasperating) characters, shrewdly characterized by Timothy West. And it contains a long passage about the end days of an aging cleric, whose goodness, mildness and acceptance are both utterly believable, and piquantly contrasted with those among whom he lives, that I pulled over to weep. Whereas Dickens often portrays goodness as treacle, Trollope never loses sight of his characters as people in a closely observed world.
Simon Vance brings the characters so vividly to life that you will begin to feel as if you know them as well as you do your friends and neighbors. The..Show More » Last Chronicle is a vivid portrait of personality, written with great humor and compassion and a very compelling listening experience. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, except that one suffers withdrawal symptoms after finishing it! The narration and the writing are among the best I have ever encountered and I have been an avid reader for decades. My teenaged son also got very engrossed in the Audible version - the book has value for a wide variety of readers.