Thursday, 15 July 2010

THE SMALL HOUSE AT ALLINGTON by Anthony Trollope

Yes, I'm on a massive Trollope kick. There's no denying it. He's just orderly. His world is rational. I LOVE it. I specifically saved this book for a long plane ride I had, and it was awesome. It's just amazing how a book with a strong plot can erase an airport, annoying seat mate, etc etc. Not that I also didn't watch 3 movies (Dear John - AVOID!, Remember Me - Robert Pattison and 9/11 - nuff said; and Green Zone - MOSTLY AVOID!) Anyway, in the small house at Allington lives a young lady called Lily Dale, apparently one of Trollope's best loved heroines. Her cousin brings a young man Mr Crosbie down to stay, and the two fall in love. He asks her to marry him and she accepts.

This is usually where most Trollope novels end, but with this one our problems are only just beginning. Mr Crosbie is much admired at the Civil Service, where he works, and uses his small income to impress. He realises that if he gets married he'll be trapped in a small house with babies and have hardly any income at all. A very modern worry really. So like two weeks later he asks this titled lady he's known for some time to marry him instead. She also doesn't have much money, but he thinks a titled connection will be good for his career, and he likes her well enough. She's been on the market 14 years, so decides to cut her losses and accept.

Lily is made totally miserable by this desertion. Interestingly, so is Crosbie. He finds he has nothing in common with his new wife, and is expected to keep up a way of life way beyond his income. In addition, his social circle are not impressed with him for jilting Lily. He gets attacked at a train station by one John Eames, who is in love with Lily, and wants to avenge her. He asks Lily to marry him, and she refuses, saying she is married to Crosbie in her heart. Which is a bit bizarre.

What I loved about this book was the writing style (smooth as butter!), the dilemma of Crosbie (it was very interesting to see someone make personal calculations of that kind) and of course meeting people from the other novels in the series. It's like coming across a different period in your life, quite unexpectedly, because I read some of these novels ages ago.

Last: did you know Trollope wrote every day for three hours, without fail? 250 words every 15 minutes, and he said he didn't understand all the agonising and wall staring; it's just discipline. He said he attributed his whole success in life to the discipline of early hours. Let's put that in our lazy pipes and smoke it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

THE PRIVATE MEMOIRS AND CONFESSIONS OF A JUSTIFIED SINNER by James Hogg

The first appeal of this book is that the author was an eighteenth century shepherd who taught himself to read. It’s not so often that the ...