#241 Silas Marner

This wouldn’t have been my first choice of read but I was in my local library (which has a much smaller selection) with 5 minutes to closing and panic grabbed it on my way out so as not to leave empty handed. For some reason George Eliot is linked to Thomas Hardy in my mind, and while I did enjoy the few books I’ve read by him I’m not in a rush to read another: and really I think I enjoy his books most in hindsight – when I’ve finished reading them. I’m not sure why the two authors are linked for me – something about the time or maybe I saw them together on a book shelf at some point but I thought at least Silas Marner is a short read, so hopefully shouldn’t be too tedious. Once again I seem to be using my opening paragraph to lay out my woefully incorrect preconceptions, leaving me to spend the rest of the blog telling you how I found the opposite to be true.
Admittedly I did find myself skimming over some scenes in Silas Marner; in particular some of the conversation in the pub but it was more to speed up my reading to where something significant would happen next rather than out of boredom. I ended up quite liking Silas by about halfway through the book – not that there’s anything especially unpleasant about him; he is quite a pitiful character – not there’s also not anything immediately endearing that jumps out at the beginning. His adoration of Eppie, the orphaned toddler who delivers herself to his fireside, is touching and evidentially a redeeming feature in the eyes of the townsfolk.
I thought it was a shame that he couldn’t find his original village and his former friend who wronged him at the start of the novel to set the record straight but I suppose Silas was more than satisfied with his lot by then and if his ex-fiancé was false enough to believe the lies about Silas and then leave him for his friend maybe she wouldn’t have been the best wife anyway: but it’s a shame he then had to spend over a decade alone, weaving. But then I suppose the weaving brought him the gold and one thing lead to another and he got Eppie, who brought him so much more happiness… and I was very glad about Eppie’s choice at the end of the novel so “just desserts” were had without anyone having to be too smug, which I guess is a much nicer ending than might have been if he had succeeded in the latter.

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