"The Way We Live Now" provides Trollope’s satiric look on the modernizing world of his day and the inability of many individuals to retain a moral compass amid the changes. Throughout the novel, Trollope provides criticism of and sympathy for his characters. Despite many dark portraits and sections, Trollope also provides a lot of humor.
One central theme looks at pervasive dishonesty, located in financial, political, and moral aspects of everyday life. Mr. Melmotte, an extraordinary swindler, was based on fact and anticipates many more financial schemes to come. Trollope makes it clear, though, that the swindler doesn’t act alone—he needs someone willing and able to be fleeced. What Trollope couldn’t anticipate was governments swindling money or perpetrating Ponzi schemes that would make a Melmotte or Bernie Madoff look like pikers.
Highly recommended—except for the first 75 pages, when Trollope sounded like a prudish scold, I thoroughly enjoyed this. There are a few resolutions that feel pat or formulaic, but they did not detract from the pleasure at all.
I just finished my first Trollope, all 736 pages, and I couldn't put it down. Melmotte reminded me of financiers like Trump and Madoff. The descriptions of how people think and how they make decisions are acute. The author allows the reader to enter into the minds as well as the emotions of his characters, as well as giving the flavor of the life and customs of the time.
"One of my resolutions for the summer is to get better acquainted with Anthony Trollope, and so at the top of my list is The Way We Live Now. Somehow long summer days seem the best time to read those 600 or 700-page Victorian novels that you’ve long wished you had read, so that’s what’s at the top of my pile of “to read” books."
Brilliantly told story of the confict between the classes is scathing in its portrayal of the upper class as a parasite. The wonderful characters are drawn cleverly and modern parallels can be drawn quite easily.
Trollope describes the darker side of commercialism during the Victorian era.
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