The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope – The Classics Club and Back to the Classics Challenge

The Way We Live Know by Anthony Trollope was first published in 1875 but some aspects of the tale and the characters are so recognisable nowadays. As with most of Trollope’s books it’s a real chunkster but if you have the time – as I have – then you’ll probably find that you manage to read it fairly quickly as it’s a real page-turner.

Lady Carbury is a widow with a son and daughter who are more or less out in the world, or they would be if her son Felix had any gumption, sadly he chooses to spend his time at his club gambling and drinking, and his mother has to write history pot-boilers which are dubious factually to try to make some money to keep body and soul together for her and her daughter. Even so, Lady Carbury just can’t say no to her son when he wants money for gambling, and she gives it to him despite needing the money to pay the household bills, and having to deny her daughter a fair chance in life.

Felix needs to marry a wealthy young woman and with this in mind an invitation to Madame Melmotte’s ball is needed. The Melmottes have arrived in London only recently but they’re reputed to be fabulously wealthy, having made lots of money in France. Lady Carbury wants their daughter Marie for her son. There are rumours though that all might not be as it seems in the Melmotte household. In Paris Mr Melmotte is regarded as a swindler and his business dealings aren’t orthodox. He’s described as being purse-proud and a bully. Melmotte likes to talk about how wealthy he is and throws money around to entertain royalty, but he’s definitely up to no good.

Melmotte is so like the so-called tycoon Robert Maxwell who bought companies just to plunder their pension funds, and he also reminded me of ‘the Donald’. Human beings don’t ever change I suppose and there are only so many different types. This was a great read which I read for the Classics Club. I love Trollope’s writing so I can’t understand why it has taken me so long to get around to reading this one, I suspect that I thought it might not be good pandemic reading – but it was.

I also read this one for the Back to the Classics Challenge which is hosted by Karen K at Books and Chocolate.

7 thoughts on “The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope – The Classics Club and Back to the Classics Challenge

  1. I haven’t read this one, but I really enjoy Anthony Trollope’s books. I loved the film version of The Way We Live Now with David Suchet playing the role of Melmott. I agree that human nature doesn’t change which I think is why history continues to repeat itself. I’ll have to read the book which is sitting on my bookcase, but I have been a little hesitant because it’s such a long read. I appreciate your review and description.

    • Paula,
      I read this one on my Kindle and I must admit that I was a bit daunted when I realised how long it took me to get to 2% on it, it is very long indeed. I really got into the swing of it though and read it in less than a week. David Suchet sounds perfect for the part.

  2. I have this one on my new CC list, so I’m glad to see you give it such a glowing review! I have read it before but many years ago, so my memory of it is very vague. But he’s such a great writer and yes, I can see Melmotte easily fitting in to today’s ruling classes…

    • FictionFan,
      I’m trying to read everything by Trollope so I’ll be putting a few more of them on my new CC list as I’m almost finished my second 50.

  3. I still have not read anything by Trollope, but The Warden is on my Classics List and I just need to get to reading it. Even though The Way We Live Now is very long, it does sound like a good read.

    • tracybham,
      The Barchester books were the first Trollopes that I read and I loved that series, but then I loved the Palisser series even more. I hope you enjoy The Warden.

  4. Pingback: New Classics Club list | Pining for the West

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