Thursday, October 15, 2009
Silas Marner by George Eliot
'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...' I know, I know this is Dickens and I'm supposed to be writing about Eliot. But this sums up how I felt whilst reading Silas Marner. My reading would have been greatly enhanced by sharing this with someone with more experience than I in books of this sort. I struggled with the long sentences and descriptions that had me saying "what?" after reading them. Then the clouds would part and, for me anyway, the writing would become so clear and wonderful. The story begins with Silas Marner working in a village as a weaver. He is falsely accused of theft, betrayed by his friend. He leaves the town, his job and his fiancee behind to start life over again, this time in a cottage far from others. With lots of work and not much to spend his money on, he keeps his stash of coins hidden in his cottage. But one day, while Silas leaves his cottage unlocked during a short errand, he is robbed of his fortune. The despair is enough to just about drive him mad. Then, and further into the book than I thought, Silas spies a pool of gold in front of his hearth. Could this be his money returned to him? As he fixes his eyes more closely he discovers it is a small child with blonde curls, wandered in from goodness knows where through the snow. Her mother lies dead nearby. Silas finds new reason to live and the loss of his fortune no longer consumes him. He names the little girl, Eppie, and becomes the best of fathers to her, seeking advice from a neighbour when needed. Watching from afar though, is the man who is Eppie's biological father, unbeknownst to the other villagers. He knows that to reveal his relationship with the dead woman will jeopardize his relationships and standing in the village. The story is a marvelous one and I adored the ending. Perhaps I wasn't patient enough with the long, drawn out bits, isn't that a terrible thing to say about a treasured author? The fault is all mine. The Heiress is going to be reading this for her English class soon if her professor can drag himself away from Northanger Abbey. If you read this child of mine, it's a really lovely story and well worth reading, perhaps not as riveting in some spots as those Twilight books you enjoyed so much, but well worth wading through.