27 August 2009

Book Review: One from the road


The Mill on the Floss
George Eliot


Not sure I will have the time and opportunity write all of my travel reading reviews from the road, but since I have a moment I thought I would give it a whirl.

This was my first go reading George Eliot (née Mary Ann Evans). For the most part I found it quite enjoyable. It was much more readable than I expected. Usually I need something fluffy and easy for the plane, but I ended up reading two thirds of this over the Atlantic. It is supposedly the most autobiographical of her novels with the main character Maggie being the stand-in for Eliot. Given the ending, it cannot cleave too closely to her own life. It is also supposed to be a tale of the limited choices that women had in the mid 19th-century. And the book certainly does focus on that, but I was surprised at how much the first part of the book was about Maggies brother Tom.

SPOILER ALERT: I could not believe the ending. I wanted a happy ending in the worst possible way. Ultimately the way Maggie meets her end seems more a result of, dumb luck, her own martyr complex, and her overweening love for her brother than a result of her limited choices in life. If Eliot really wanted to say something about the lack of, and consequences of female independence in her life, she could have come up with many other possible endings that would have made her point more effectively.

Still, definitely worth reading and encourages me to read other books by Eliot.
And no, that is not me along the banks of the Floss. But it is me reading my beat up copy of The Mill on the Floss on the banks of the River Cher on the grounds of Chenonceau.

2 comments:

  1. I loved this when I first read it, but interestingly it has been the Eliot I've been most reluctant to re-read. I've happily gone back to Middlemarch' and 'Daniel Deronda' but for some reason I don't want to re-read this. I wonder why that might be? I shall have to give that some thought.

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  2. Hi TT, I think Middlemarch will be next for me. I saw DD in a TV film adaption and quite liked it, but once I see the film it takes me longer to get around to reading the book.

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