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The Way We Live Now

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  7,764 ratings  ·  521 reviews

'Trollope did not write for posterity,' observed Henry James. 'He wrote for the day, the moment; but these are just the writers whom posterity is apt to put into its pocket.' Considered by contemporary critics to be Trollope's greatest novel, The Way We Live Now is a satire of the literary world of London in the 1870s and a bold indictment of the new power of speculative f
Paperback, 896 pages
Published August 14th 2001 by Modern Library (first published 1875)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”There are a thousand little silly softnesses which are pretty and endearing between acknowledged lovers, with which no woman would like to dispense, to which even men who are in love submit sometimes with delight; but which in other circumstances would be vulgar,— and to the woman distasteful. There are closenesses and sweet approaches, smiles and nods and pleasant winkings, whispers, innuendoes and hints, little mutual admirations and assurances that there are things known to those two happy o ...more
A great novel, perhaps Trollope's best. But it's not the one I usually recommend to those who have never read Trollope and want to try him. For one thing, it's very long. For another, it's pretty dark. There are a lot of characters in this novel, and almost every one of them views money as the summum bonum. That, after all, is the way we live now.

At the center of the novel is Augustus Melmotte, an ill-mannered foreigner of undetermined background, with whom in better times, Trollope believes, no
Virginia Woolf called Middlemarch "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people." I get it, and it's true, and I wondered, "What are some other books written for grown-up people?" (I ditched "English" for more fun.) So Tolstoy? Tolstoy. What else?

Top Five Novels For Grown-Up People
5. Remains of the Day
4. War & Peace
3. Mrs. Dalloway
2. The Way We Live Now
1. Middlemarch

And here's a book for grown-up people. It has that vertiginous insight into human nature. It has a vast, complica
The more that I read Victorian literature the more I am convinced that back in those days it was all about authors showing off. The educated public who could actually read and write were in much smaller proportion to the whole society than today. These people wanted to spend their hard earned shillings on something that was truly worth their time and money. The thought of watching television or films to fill people’s downtime would not appear until another half century or so. So what did people ...more
Oct 15, 2008 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient readers
I first read this book back in... hmm... 1998? 1999? Loved it, and was inspired to pull it off the shelf for a re-read in light of the unfolding financial collapse/bail-out. Everything I read about Wall Street firms reminds me of the 4 guys gambling in their private club, the "Beargarden" -- crazy web of credits and worthless IOUs, all the players betting money they don't have, each one making his bets based on what the others owe him, and no prospect of them ever being sufficiently sober and "i ...more
This an epic telling of the Victorian era business world of London, invaded by an outsider, one Mr Melmotte (of uncertain and questionable background) who proceeds to take this financial realm by storm. It is also the story of various marital contrivances and government parody, the nouveau riche and the newly poor gentry, seemingly based on who can make the best financial deal. And lest the Western Hemisphere feel left out, there is also a somewhat specious sounding investment scheme introduced ...more
Who does not know that sudden thoughtfulness at waking, that first matutinal retrospection, and pro-spection, into things as they have been and are to be; and the lowness of the heart, the blankness of hope which follows the first remembrance of some folly lately done, some word ill-spoken, some money misspent - or perhaps a cigar too much, or a glass of brandy and soda-water which he should have left untasted? And when things have gone well, how the waker comforts himself among the bedclothes
Sep 08, 2007 Sharon rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Shelves: booksalreadyread
This is one of the author's greatest work. Among its greatnesss is the irony of the title--it is truly, with a few adjustments for modern technology, the way we live NOW. We have much more in common with the Victorian's than we ever think about--they too were bombarded by the media, attracted by the lure of easy money in an unpredictable stock market, thrilled by the possibilities of travel that had opened to them even as they were ambivalent about foreigners coming into their country and earnin ...more
Quid Pro Quo
With a large book of recognized stature, there is some tendency to create a similarly big review, something that mirrors the scale and gravitas of the work at hand. Better to think small here, but we'll see.

On The Make
While Trollope's The Way We Live Now does manage to instill an appreciation of the sizeable effort it must have taken, there is simply way too much here to really merit the giant appreciative kudos. Eight hundred and twenty-five pages in the Modern Library edition, and
Before I fell in love with Trollope, sometime in the spring of last year, I couldn’t have told you a great deal about his books, but I would have told you that I understood ‘The Way We Live Now’ to be his biggest, his greatest, his most enduring work. That was why I felt I should read it in the year of his bicentenary, as, in between his two famous series, I explore his stand-alone novels.

Now that I’ve read it I can’t disagree with my earlier evaluation. I found the Trollope I loved, but I found
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This book couldn't be more aptly titled, but don't think that makes it in the least boring. There are enough interesting characters and plenty of plot to keep you reading through all of it's lengthy pages.

It's all about money, you see: who's got it, who flaunts it, who will do what to get it, and who will marry because of it. There are intrigues, both financial and matrimonial; and scandals, both financial and matrimonial. Some parts, admittedly, are a bit melodramatic, but Trollope is such good
Susan Harter
I'm just re-reading this and wow, what a fabulous book. A great big rollicking read, and the BBS version of this with David Suchet (famous as Inspector Poirot on PBS's "Mystery") is amazing as the financial swindler, Melmotte. In fact, the BBS version is one of those rare adaptation that I don't sit through muttering about how they "ruined" the book!
I have to admit that I got a tiny little bit impatient with this. It is admittedly a comprehensive portrayal of an age, the 1870s when money, and indeed speculative money, stock market gambles and credit based on nothing more concrete than a reputation for being rich began to take over as the ticket to high society, instead of the privilege that went with the aristocratic title. The Lords and Baronets and other gentlemen are all impecunious, none can any longer afford to continue to live in the ...more
Sherwood Smith
I think it’s fairly well known by Trollope readers what he said about this book: he came back to England after a long trip (which included San Francisco) to discover how sordidly his fellow countrymen delved into shady financial shenanigans. Morality, he felt, went right out the window if the fortunes were high enough.

And so he set out to write a satire.

Trollope is one of those authors whose novels make absorbing reading, but who never quite attain greatness. His contemporaries scorned him, esp
Oct 27, 2014 Sera rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Bookish
This book is my first read of a Trollope novel, and it captured me on many different levels, which led to Trollope catapulting to the top of my Victorian author list.

Like Hardy, I see Trollope as a cool Victorian writer. Cool because he lets his woman kick ass, and he is not afraid to show the ugly underside of a Victorian culture that on the surface appears to be governed by propriety and the use of good manners. People are greedy in Trollope's world. They seek money, lots of money, without hav
This was a fantastic melodrama, worthy of being compared with any other Victorian novel, with a large cast of characters, a dozen subplots, and a biting, satirical wit that Trollope applied to what he saw as the greed and lack of class evident in London in his day. Other reviewers have commented on how Augustus Melmotte is entirely believable as a 19th century Bernie Madoff, and his ponzi scheme house of cards has been seen over and over again on Wall Street. But if The Way We Live Now were just ...more
Money. That is what I want. Love would be nice, but love can wait, be twisted, contorted, or even ignored in the pursuit of money. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope is, in my estimation, an incredibly insightful, topical and relevant novel of both its time and our present day.

How often do we read about Ponzi schemes in today's newspapers, how often do we see greed for money crush the life out of one's morals, how seldom do we truly get a peak under the rock of those who control our financi
A fascinating perspective on the moral bankruptcy of English society in the late 1800s...with unsettling echoes that carry forward into the present day. Highly recommended -- the Trollope to read, even if you read nothing else by Trollope.
An incredibly long yet remarkably engaging look at the disastrous result of a credit economy gone corrupt with some marriage plots thrown in for good measure (what, after all, is a Victorian novel without a marriage plot?).
Compulsive gamblers, wayward heiresses, drunks!!! No, it's not a Paris Hilton bacchanal at The Palms, silly! It's Anthony Trollope. He's hot!
Actually I am rating this a 4.5 essentially because I was disappointed in the ending. This book by Anthony Trollope really packed quite a telling of the ills of Victorian society. The characters he presented with all their foibles and issues were fascinating. Trollope really made such a fine commentary on the Victorian age with this novel. The sole purpose of society was to have money, to marry money, and essentially to not work at all.

Fascinating in its detail we meet a bevy of characters. Sir
While not my favorite Trollope, this was a lovely read, and quite apposite to our own financial crisis. The account of the railway bubble and the cynical financiers behind it is as relevant today as it was then.

I love the range of Trollope's characters: the audacious swindler with his feckless, compliant board of directors, the penniless scapegrace nobleman who can hardly bestir himself to pursue the swindler's gradually awakening daughter, the female author (homage to Trollope's own mother), t
This is one of his best, but atypical in many ways. The love story takes a back seat (and often feels tacked on, actually) to the satirical look at high society and high finance. The characters on the whole are less sympathetic than Trollope's usual, though I adore Lady Carbury, tigerish mother and would-be author, almost in spite of myself; there's a particularly scrumptious bit where Trollope describes her extremely methodical way of writing a novel, in which he's clearly poking a bit of fun a ...more
Christopher H.
This was an excellent novel! I enjoyed this book from the very first page to the very last. This book was really great fun to read, and I could hardly put it down once started. It seems very timely too, as it could very easily describe the hubris, arrogance, and greed of the Wall Street crowd today in the United States (i.e., the "too big to fail" mentality). Trollope paints a devastating portrait of London society and the financial and political conditions of his time, and amazingly enough that ...more
Brenda Clough
A real doorstop -- this is an ideal book for an e-reader, because the paper book is a monster. But it's an entire world.
Trollope is totally relevant here, writing about financial fraud, an Enron that takes the entire upper class of London for a ride until finally the bubble pops and it's all over. If every employee of Lehman Brothers had been forced to read this novel as a condition of their employment, the history of the early 21st century would be very different today.
Trollope is wordy, but I didn't mind it because the wordy style is entertaining and clever. This is a satire and I began it not expecting to give a hang about any of the characters the whole way through. But by the end I did care for a few of them, and was suprised to have even been won over by one or two I never would have expected to like even 3/4 of the way through. My favorite theme of his was the choices people make between the honest thing to do and the dishonest, in a variety of contexts. ...more
Such a treat to read. Many characters. Many predicaments. But all brought together so deftly. And I never once got that compensatory urge to pitch the book against a wall in lieu of smacking the whiny little mouths within. This book also explained the recent financial crisis to me as Trollope deftly mapped out the workings of invisible money in many invisible hands.
First things first, the page count given here is inaccurate. The first volume is 478 pages, the second 474 and they’re both presented in the same book. So there is a lot of it, perhaps even slightly too much. Nonetheless, I was consistently impressed and fascinated by both events and characters. Having not read any Trollope before, I was expecting something in the nature of Dickens. ‘The Way We Live Now’ is a great deal more insightful and nuanced regarding the condition of women than I’ve ever ...more
This is a classic novel in the classical sense of the word. Here we are 130+ years later reading it as if it came out last week. Trollope is one of the best writers of the 19th century and had more wit, cynicism, irony and plot twists per page than pretty much any writer since. He satirizes the greed and hypocrisy of upper-class Victorian society like no other. He has at least a dozen protagonists in the book, three-quarters of whom are also dreadful antagonists. And Trollop has a way of making ...more
Melmotte - an unscrupulous foreign financier - arrives in London where he creates a large dubious scheme which ropes in various members of the English aristocracy. Along the way he is elected a Member of Parliament, until eventually his corruption catches up with him and he falls.

So that's financial irregularities and unscrupulous MPs - clearly not much has changed in the last 130+ years.

Although Melmotte is the driver of this book, it really focuses on the aristocracy and how the world is chan
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Anthony Trollope became one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of Trollope's best-loved works, known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire; he also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues and conflicts of his day.

Trollope has always been a popular novelist. Noted fans ha
More about Anthony Trollope...

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“Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.” 31 likes
“There was but one thing for him;- to persevere till he got her, or till he had finally lost her. And should the latter be his fate, as he began to fear that it would be, then, he would live, but live only, like a crippled man.” 14 likes
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