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Cranford

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3.85  ·  Rating details ·  29,327 Ratings  ·  1,750 Reviews
Cranford is the best-known and best-loved novel of the nineteenth-century English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. It was first published in 1851 as a serial in the magazine Household Words, which was edited by Charles Dickens. It is a gently comic picture of life and manners in an English country village during the 1830s. It describes the small adventures in the lives of two mid ...more
Audio CD, 6 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Blackstone Audio, Inc. (first published 1853)
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Irene Yes, its amazing! Really classy and clever. …moreYes, it´s amazing! Really classy and clever. (less)
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Sue
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"the humor is so sly. at times it's difficult to believe that this was written over 150 years ago. I guess that gentle social humor has always been with us." --- this was one of my status updates while reading Cranford, my first experience reading Elizabeth Gaskell.

As I finished reading, I felt the same way: pleased with the experience, surprised at the wit and wisdom written so well so many years ago. But then I ask myself...Why am I surprised? There are always intelligent women and always int
...more
Cheryl
Sep 19, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy nineteenth-century portraits
Shelves: orchids, vintage
I'll admit I'm no procurer of Victorian liteary novels, but I've always wanted to dabble in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, the woman who had the honor of writing The Life of Charlotte Brontë. Cranford is said to be slightly humorous, with a unique take on the lives of women during that era. A bit humorous, partly due to the preposterousness of the attitudes surrounding small town etiquette, yes, but I wouldn't call it humorous in the general sense. And yet these characters are electrifying and ...more
Vanessa
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY, an Elizabeth Gaskell book that I enjoyed!

I honestly didn't think I would enjoy this book, and was almost regretting putting it on my Dewey's 24-Hour Readathon TBR. And whaddya know, I finished it!

Cranford follows a group of women living in the small fictional town of, you guessed it, Cranford. The women live in "genteel poverty" and have very old-fashioned mindsets about life and social niceties and norms. The book is told from the perspective of Mary Smith (or Elizabeth Gaskell), and
...more
helen the bookowl
This is a book about the village of Cranford which mainly women inhabit; women who live according to customs and norms and who are quite fond of gossip. If you think this sounds good then this might be a book for you, but I personally got very tired of it very quickly.
Each chapter follows a new anecdote, and while some of them were quite entertaining, most of them were dull and quite shallow, in my eyes. I'm sure the ladies of those days thought them of the utmost importance, but I couldn't see
...more
Sara
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
3.5 stars, rounded down.

Want to take a trip to a small English town in the mid 1800s, meet the people and see what everyday life was like for the female population? Open Cranford and travel in time. It is a sweet and simple book, comprised of what seems more like vignettes than an actual plot line. Nothing exciting happens, life just unfolds, and yet you feel attached to these women, admiring the grace with which they handle their sometimes difficult world, the way they navigate a system that pi
...more
Jessica
Delightful! I went into this totally blind, knowing only that it's a respected classic by the author of NORTH AND SOUTH. I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting this!

CRANFORD is all about the village of Cranford, which is mostly inhabited by shabby genteel spinsters and widows. The whole book is a serious of humorous vignettes about life there as related by an outsider, Mary Smith, who frequently goes to stay with her elderly friend Miss Matty. Through the eyes of the nar
...more
Kim
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

What a gorgeous book. After years of avoiding Victorian literature, in the past twelve months I've fallen in love with Gaskell's writing. This is a short work: more a series of episodes than a linear narrative. It centres on the lives of a group of women who dominate society in the small town of Cranford. They are united by being single - widows and spinsters - and by the fact that live in genteel poverty.

Cranford is at times laugh-out-loud funny, at times deeply moving. Within five minutes of
...more
Marquise
This little novel about small-town life in 19th century England deals with a group of ladies in Cranford and their daily travails, is easy to read and filled with amusing anecdotes.

The story flies by too quickly and ends too soon, however, leaving a taste of insubstantiality and emptiness, like when you finish eating candy floss (cotton candy, for the Americans out there). Because this book doesn't really tell a story in the traditional sense, with a start, a middle and an end, and there's no t
...more
Katie Lumsden
Aug 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this one. A brilliant, fascinating book. It's not necessarily Gaskell's best written but it's written so lovingly, with such wonderful characters and such a realisation and enjoyable presentation of a small town and the community of women within it, that I can't help but love it. It's also hilarious!
(I'd also highly recommend the Penguin Classics edition - it has brilliant appendixes and notes at the back!)
Inder
Ah, so delightful! I loved this. It's really a series of vignettes, and, if there is a plot at all, it doesn't show up until halfway through. But it's so funny! And sad! And it's all about women! I laughed aloud a few times, and almost cried a few other times.

Sigh. I'm such a sucker for this stuff. But I loved it. Despite its disjunctive narrative, I read the whole book in less than three days. But I'm strange that way.

For Happy (I would alert readers to spoilers, but there actually isn't much
...more
Laurel Hicks
Great fun! Mrs. Gaskell's gentle yet probing comedy of manners is a book worthy of many readings. There's a lot of dressing up in this book--wearing the perfect hat for the occasion, buying the latest material, dressing a cow in flannel, Peter's ill-received jokes. No clear plot, but then I don't usually read for the plots. The character studies here are priceless.
Siria
Beautifully observed and gently funny, Cranford is less a novel than it is a series of vignettes, drawn from the lives of a small group of genteelly impoverished older women in a small town in mid-nineteenth century England. Gaskell is quite gentle with her characters, I think perhaps because she was aware of how limited a life she was creating for them—with all the social restrictions placed on unmarried women, with just enough social status to be unable to work to support themselves, but with ...more
❀⊱Rory⊰❀
Delightful! This is going on my favorites shelf.
Lois Bujold
Jan 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up due to a review by Jo Walton on Tor.com. She described it as something like a mid-19th Century English Lake Wobegone, which gives a tolerably accurate sense of the discursive tone. Charming and kindly, with only a tenuous thread of anything one might call a plot, but nonetheless absorbing. I quite liked it. It is available as a free e-edition on Amazon Kindle.

The first-person voice makes it very naturally a "told" story, untouched by the later cinematic techniques that infiltrat
...more
Lemony
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prépare-toi une bonne tasse de thé ( pas du thé vert), mets-y un peu de crème et juste ce que tu aimes de sucre. Installe-toi dans ton endroit préféré, et s'il pleut comme aujourd'hui c'est encore mieux. Prends un plaid au cas où.
Tu vois? On est à Cranford. Petite ville ville, pas très loin de Londres; avec ses règles, ses coutumes et surtout son étiquette et sa bienséance. Et les femmes de la ville y tiennent.
Tu vas te retrouver dans une petite boule a neige ou le temps s'est presque arrêté;
...more
Renee M
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get into the rhythm of this book, after having been so swept away by North and South. This is quite different, but the two together showcase the bright talent that was Elizabeth Gaskell. Another reviewer has described the novel as adorable, and I heartily agree. It was so lovely to shake off the dust of my day for a few stolen moments in Cranford.
RavenclawReadingRoom
Let me start by saying that I probably would have enjoyed this book more if I hadn't seen and loved the BBC's adaptation of Cranford like 10 years ago. Because this book is effectively a series of individual vignettes all set in the same village. The adaptation, in contrast, overlaps and spreads the vignettes out over the course of its episodes, allowing a more coherent storyline to emerge.

So.

There's nothing WRONG with the vignettes. But you don't find out the narrator's name until about two t
...more
Lesle
Cranford is a small English village inhabited mostly by ladies. Few gentlemen take up residence.
Much ado about the proper ways to conduct life. There are few men who the women seem to enjoy. There is loss, death, marriage and childbirth like any other village. There is social standings and one who is a go to person for knowledge of what is correct, that they depend on. Cranford society changes and comes full circle in the end.

I wish I had found it more interesting than I did. At times had a hard
...more
Pink
Nov 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this, it was sweet and humorous and quick to listen to. Although, I can't remember much that happened. There was the scene with the cat, some stuff about hats and fashions, some downfalls and some reunions. A snapshot of small town life in 19th century England, not a lot has changed really.
Ellie
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell is Victorian literature at its best. A small community-in this case, for some reason populated almost exclusively by women, in which all the events of the larger world occur (love, death, marriage, childbirth, financial struggles) but in microcosmically allowing their repercussions to reverberate more loudly while simultaneously being softened by the arch tone of the book and rather hilarious eccentricities of the town's inhabitants.

I loved this book. I would avoid
...more
Sinem
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
1800'lerde İngiltere 'de Cranford adlı bir kasabada yaşayan bir grup kadının günlük yaşantılarını anlatan kitap aslında çok mizahi ve dönemine göre çok feminist ve Viktorya dönemi İngilteresine taşlamalarla dolu. O dönemden bi caanım Jane Austen bilen ve sevenlere bu Charles Dickens ile arkadaşlık kurmuş geç -hele de Türkçede epeyce geç- keşfedilmiş zeki hanımefendiyi şiddetle tavsiye ederim. Kitabın giriş cümlesi zaten olacakların habercisi " Her şeyden önce, Cranford, Amazonların elindedir..."
Ying Ying
This book is extremely slow and suits itself for audiobook. While there is no drama, the book gives a good sense of the Cranford society, where values are more important than financial means, and economies are made even out of candles. The story is ideal for those who want to return to old historical times where any minor familial discussion is a significant event, and where letters are in such abundance that an entire chapter can be dedicated to them. Reading the story as slowly as possible can ...more
Alex
Is it possible to discuss Cranford without using the word "charming?" It'd be like playing literary Taboo. Like trying to talk about The Road without saying "bleak," or Catcher in the Rye without "insufferable twat."

Cranford is a charming book. If it seems a bit more episodic than plot-driven, it's because it is; it was originally commissioned by Dickens as a series of eight essays for his publication Household Works. It was enormously popular, so Gaskell ended up novelizing it. And it does have
...more
Katherine
Feb 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At first, Cranford may seem superficially quaint in it's manner, as it relates the story of a small country town made up of mostly middle-aged women. But to read it only for it's quaintness is to do yourself a disservice, for there is more strength to this novel than just that.

The first thing I noticed while reading was the surprisingly modern humor to be picked up on. From forcing laxatives on a fine lace eating cat, to dolling over a cow loved as a daughter (my examples may all be animal rela
...more
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Charming start. I went to bed the first night envisioning livestock in grey flannel petticoats.

Mr. Dickens v. Dr. Johnson? Count me in with ol' Chuck any day!
Laurel
To prime myself for Return to Cranford, the new Masterpiece Classic sequel to last year’s award-winning mini-series Cranford on PBS, I wanted to read Mrs. Gaskell’s original novel that it was adapted from. Since I am always short of reading time, I chose instead to listen to an audio recording, my favorite pastime during my commute to work. After a bit of research on Cranford audio book recordings, I settled on the Naxos edition. From my experience with their recording of Jane Austen’s novels I ...more
Bob
I ended up liking this much better than I thought I would. At first I was lost as to how all the characters fit together. It felt like walking into a room full of people not knowing anyone. In addition to not knowing anyone in the room nobody acknowledges my presence. I'm in the middle of a conversation not knowing anything about the lives of people around me. I found it daunting getting up to speed on the life and times of the people of Cranford. I even considered abandoning it. I am glad I was ...more
Victoria Minks
Sigh. Cranford...I just love Cranford. I know it's definitely the kind of book that's not everyone's style but it's just so sweet, and hilarious, and comfortable... It's written in a series of vignettes and it can feel a bit scattered, but maybe that's why I like it. It feels real-- like a friend is writing you bits and pieces of a place she loves. Just... Captain Brown!!! ;( I love so many of the characters in the book and their oh-so-subtle quirks and funniness. Miss Pole is by far my favorite ...more
Arukiyomi
Apr 11, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The 1001 Books list has totally changed the way I read novels. It’s given me access to writers that have deeply influenced the way I see the world and has given me memories of characters and storylines that have been incredibly powerful. And then it’s introduced me to Elizabeth Gaskell and the trivial wittering rubbish of Cranford.

This is a book about absolutely nothing. I recently thought Northanger Abbey lacked any substance. How very wrong I was. Cranford redefines pointlessness. I waited in
...more
K.M. Weiland
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew going into this book that the BBC miniseries by the same name had been only loosely based upon the book. I also knew the book was more a series of vignettes than a plotted story. So I was prepared for what some readers have considered its downfalls. All I can say is it is CHARMING. It had me laughing from the very first paragraph. The characters are a delight and the vignettes are sparkling from beginning to end. Gaskell refers often to Dickens's Pickwick Papers; in my opinion, this is Ga ...more
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, née Stevenson (29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to simply as Mrs. Gaskell, was an English novelist and short story writer during the Victorian era. She is perhaps best known for her biography of Charlotte Brontë. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of society, including the very poor, and as such are of interest to socia ...more
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“I'll not listen to reason... reason always means what someone else has got to say.” 186 likes
“Out of the way! We are in the throes of an exceptional emergency! This is no occassion for sport- there is lace at stake!" (Ms. Pole)” 85 likes
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