I can’t tell you how many times I have picked up Middlemarch to read, then put it straight back down again, intimidated by its heft. Recently I decided that I can’t make claims to being a novelist without having read the novel which people have called the best of all time – but the book was still intimidating, so I settled for the audiobook instead, narrated by the wonderful Juliet Stevenson (this woman can do everything!). 35 hours of listening later and I am so glad that I now have this book in my head. I actually feel slightly lost without it, now that it’s over.
- The unapologetic sprawl of this book. Eliot didn’t do anything by halves. She took her time and it’s so worth it.
- The fact that every character is nuanced and complex. I learned lessons about writing ‘villains’ from this book which I had never even thought about before.
- The central love story – obviously. Dorothea was annoying at first, but oh my, how she grew.
I didn’t love:
- The feeling that the normal world is now not quite as vivid as the world of Middlemarch. I say this without exaggeration.
Would recommend it to:
Lovers of classics and aspiring writers.
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