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The Way We Live Now

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  10,843 ratings  ·  823 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
Paperback, 816 pages
Published April 28th 1994 by Penguin Classics (first published 1875)
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Julia The question was not answered in the book, and Marie had no way of finding out because she didn't even know her mother's name (or her father's). Near…moreThe question was not answered in the book, and Marie had no way of finding out because she didn't even know her mother's name (or her father's). Near the end of the book (vol. II, ch. XCVIII): "Madame Melmotte was not Marie's mother, nor, in the eyes of the law, could Marie claim Melmotte as her father. She was alone in the world, absolutely without relation, not knowing even what had been her mother's name,—not even knowing her father's true name ... ."

At one point, Trollope describes Marie's hazy recollections of an impoverished early childhood in America and a trans-Atlantic trip when she was very young. Marie's next memories have to do with living hand-to-mouth in Germany. I can't remember with whom she traveled to Germany though.(less)

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Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Virginia Woolf called Middlemarch "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," one of my favorite things anyone's ever said about a book. They're sortof surprisingly rare, right?

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

Here's another book for grown-up people. It has that vertiginous insight into human nature. It has a vast, complicated, working plot. And it's about grown-ups, by which I guess I
Apr 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: trollope
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
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 peoples downtime would not appear until another half century or so. So what did people ...more
Paul Bryant
Jul 14, 2019 marked it as probably-never  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, novels
Given up for now, probably for ever. Too many Victorian novelists thought the only subject they could possibly make a novel out of was the broad satire of the upper classes, these awful families with their country houses in Berkshire and their town houses in Westmoreland Square and the huge comedy of their attempts to make Good Marriages and the endless parade of bad sons who gamble away the family porcelain so their brilliant sisters must marry fat old Lords and they all go to balls that all ...more
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, 1800-1900
I can see why people speak of The Way We Live Now (1875) as Trollopes masterpiece. Its quite superb. Its a vast novel (a hundred chapters), but it never dragged in the least for me. Trollope is fairly light on description and leans hard on dialogue, with which he has a wonderfully deft touch.

I was always rather suspicious about this book when I read about its subject matter. I knew it was about a parvenu financier of suspiciously foreign origins, who was supposed to embody the corruption of the
Who does not know that sudden thoughtfulness at waking, that first matutinal retrospection, and prospection, 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
Not just the way they lived in Britain in 1873, but the way we live now in 2017 America. Trollop wrote with sharp satiric intent about
a certain class of dishonesty, dishonesty magnificent in its proportions, and climbing into high places, [that] has become at the same time so rampant and so splendid that there seems to be reason for fearing that men and women will be taught to feel that dishonesty, if it can become splendid, will cease to be abominable. If dishonesty can live in a gorgeous
Oct 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 ...more
Katie Lumsden
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 5-stars
As good the third time as the first. A brilliant, engaging read, a fascinating exploration of money, power and class in the Victorian period.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very long, but one of the most readable and enjoyable books I have completed in a long time. It is in many respects an analysis of society's greed and financial corruption, which is of course still relevant. The characters are also brilliantly drawn and I repeatedly saw in many of them aspects of many people I know.
MJ Nicholls
This is TWWLN. We have Augustus Melmotte, a tinpot proto-Trump, weaselling his malign mannerless ass into power and parliament. We have heaven-kissed moral fulcrum Roger Carbury, with his pathological jonesing to shag his boring cousin. We have Hetty Carbury, the boring cousin with no life prospects other than choosing which dullard will knock her up. We have Lady Carbury, a novelist whose efforts are roundly patronised and trampled upon by the critic Mr Alf, and the author, whom one suspects ...more
I have listened to half and I cannot stand it any more. Endlessly long and boring. If you have read one Trollope, you really needn't read more. The same themes are repeated over and over and over again. The same humor repeated umpteen times just isn't funny any more. Let me be clear, read one Trollope and you'll laugh. Read more and you will start to be bored.

What is this book about? The importance of money and social standing. Who will marry who? It is a given that women have no choice but to
Apr 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
A brilliant satire shockingly apt for current times. A rich man appears on the scene promising much, everyone fawns around him without knowing anything of him except for his apparent richness, he gets elected to a position he doesn't understand, and when the crash comes, everyone blames everyone else. Very, very timely......
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
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
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
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
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having just binge read all of George Eliots novels, I, at first, missed Eliots beautiful prose, but soon got lost in Trollopes story and all was good. For such a long book with so many characters, I found it actually quite easy to follow the characters and plot. That alone is much to Trollopes credit as a writer. There was bad and good in all the characters to one degree or another. The Way We Live Now is still the way we live now - nothing has changed fundamentally - corruption abounds. A ...more
Sherwood Smith
I think its 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,
Nov 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
With the financial/economic turmoil over the last several years, (mortgage bubble/crisis, bank bail-outs, trading losses, Bernie Madoff, etc.), greed and avarice in the news and the air, The Way We Live Now has made a resurgence. For instance the 140+ year old novel making the recommended reading lists of The Daily Beast/Newsweek. The story goes that Trollope, after returning home from a lengthy trip abroad, was appalled at the England he found - greedy and money obsessed, with financial ...more
Sep 08, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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 ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Before I fell in love with Trollope, sometime in the spring of last year, I couldnt 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 Ive read it I cant disagree with my earlier evaluation. I found the Trollope I loved, but I found that
classic reverie
This is my second time reading Trollope and I enjoyed all 100 chapters. I was hoping for another ending but mine was not as realistic. I find his characters so engaging and especially the American divorcee who had so much spark and life to her which made me feel akin to her because of her spunk. There are several storylines which do connect to the characters to each other and keeps things very active to the very end. The business of marriage is quite interesting in these times as well as the ...more
Susan Harter
Feb 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
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
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I just reread this wonderful classic and was as entranced as ever by the vivid portraits. Because of David Suchet's unforgettable portrayal of Mr Melmotte, I pictured him in that part!

How is it that Trollope manages to portray each of his characters so well that we feel a certain sympathy for even the villains? He is somehow able to explain the workings of the mind of very flawed people in such a way as to make them a sort of individual Greek tragedy. Each of his characters always seem to end up
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, audible
Timothy West did an excellent job narrating this book! The 32 hours flew by, with only one plotline that actually dragged the story a bit (Sir Felix - Ruby Ruggles - John Crumb). If you've seen the BBC Production starring David Suchet, you've got the basic idea, but the book goes into greater detail of the characters' lives, especially Melmotte's daughter Marie. All of those good-for-nothing nobility were obnoxious enough to have me considering membership in the Socialist Workers Party!
Mar 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, trollope
I enjoyed this book and it makes me want to read more by Anthony Trollope. I was impressed by the characterization and the psychological depth explored in each character. But I think that this book was too long, and many thoughts and dilemmas of the characters were repeated over and over again. Also I am not enamored by themes of class and wealth, more of gender and human psychology. There was a little too much of wealth and class, which is what this book is primarily concerned about to be fair, ...more
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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

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