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The Way We Live Now

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  9,492 Ratings  ·  672 Reviews
THE WAY WE LIVE NOW (1875) by Anthony Trollope is possibly his most influential novel, a satire, and a biting expose of the financially interconnected British Victorian society. The arrival in London of the mysterious Augustus Melmotte who offers brilliant opportunities for financial investments affects a varied cast of personages, and upturns their lives, loves, and relat ...more
Paperback, 740 pages
Published May 6th 2009 by Norilana Books (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 o ...more
Alex
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 m
...more
David
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
...more
Sean
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
Lizzy
“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
...more
Heather
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 "i ...more
Chrissie
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
...more
Sue
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
Hana
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 pala
...more
J.
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
...more
·Karen·
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
...more
Toni
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......
El
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 a
...more
Helen
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having just binge read all of George Eliot’s novels, I, at first, missed Eliot’s beautiful prose, but soon got lost in Trollope’s 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 Trollope’s 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 abound ...more
Sharon
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 earnin ...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
...more
Jane
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...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!
مروان البلوشي
تاريخ القراءة الأصلي : 1998
David
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
John
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!
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
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
R.a.
Jun 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phew ! Done. Where to begin?

Overall, the novel was a delicious journey into the desperate, the ego-centric, and the corrupt.

I loved the seeming "Rondo" form of the novel—at first "spinning out" then to "close back in" in the latter part of the book.

Mrs. Hurtle MUST be a unique creation. That was simply wonderful to see a separated American woman in Victorian England on her own; yet, Trollope draws her with sympathy.

With so many mirrors, foils, and parallels created with a number of characters, a
...more
Margaret
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
Melanie
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian
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?).
Nente
Make no mistake, this is entertainment reading, not serious literature. And, for someone who's read all the chronicles of Barsetshire and a couple of other Trollopes, there is nothing really new here. There are all the familiar elements:
the hunted heiress who finally turns out to have a mind and will of her own;
the proud but impoverished ladies who on the verge of spinsterhood are obliged to lower their sights, and repent whatever decisions they make;
the spendthrift young men, gambling, drink
...more
John Frankham
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-pre-1900
A superb novel.

This review (with spoilers omitted) is by the novelist Amanda Craig:

"................... I adore Trollope, and re-read him regularly. I owe to him, more than any author, my moral education, my understanding of how British society still works, and my determination to write novels that are, as far as I can make them, also about the way we, too, live now.

Trollope's genius came upon me not as a thunderclap but as a slowly evolving, wholly delightful friendship. By the time I read TWWL
...more
Marialyce
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
...more
Sera
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...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 ha
...more
More about Anthony Trollope...
“Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.” 39 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.” 16 likes
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