Apatt's Reviews > Silas Marner

Silas Marner by George Eliot
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it was amazing
bookshelves: classics, favorites, fave-classics

"God gave her to me because you turned your back upon her, and He looks upon her as mine: you've no right to her!
When a man turns a blessing from his door, it falls to them as take it in."
One of the main reasons I like reading Victorian novels is for the eloquence. The above quote there is spoken by the eponymous Silas Marner, a character with little in the way of education or wealth, so there is a plainness in his eloquence. In his position I would have said "F*k off mister, finders keepers!". Which is why I am not a novelist.

Silas Marner is a simple tale of a lonely miser who finds an abandoned child and decides to raise her as his own, The theme of how loving a child can "reawakening the senses" and "unfold the soul" is fairly common in fiction and popular culture. Movies like "Three Men and a Baby", "Despicable Me" and "Big Daddy" milk the theme for all it's worth, but it takes a major talent like George Eliot to achieve any kind of resonance. Silas starts off as a nice and simple guy with tremendous weaving skills and above average herbal knowledge, after being ripped off by his best friends and falsely accused he moves to another town settle into a rather Scrooge-ish existence, away from the nearest population. The poor fellow is soon ripped off again by robbery but shortly finds a greater wealth through a child that he learns to love.

The transformation of Silas from a miserable antisocial recluse to a popular kindly man rings very true to me. I have personally experienced a similar transformation when a child entered my life. Later in the book Silas is given an option of wealth in exchange for his adopted daughter and the theme of what real wealth really is becomes evident. Financial wealth becomes insignificant in comparison to parental love.

There is not a lot a can think of to write about such a straight forward and rather short novel. Suffice it to say that it is a heartfelt story that I have no hesitation in recommending. Once I again I am grateful for Librivox.org for making the audiobook version available for free. As their books are read by volunteers some are better than others, the quality of the audiobooks in their huge catalogue is definitely variable. However, this version of Silas Marner is skillfully read by “Tadhg” in a very charming Irish lilt. Reading books like this make me feel that life is good (then my boss shows up and shatters the illusion).

(Audiobook download link).
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Reading Progress

September 10, 2013 – Started Reading
September 10, 2013 – Shelved
September 12, 2013 –
page 104
39.69%
September 18, 2013 –
page 195
74.43% "This is poignant stuff :'("
September 18, 2013 – Shelved as: classics
September 18, 2013 – Shelved as: favorites
September 18, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 16, 2013 – Shelved as: fave-classics

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Terry Yeah, this is a sweet little confection (really it's much more than that, but when you compare it to Eliot's magnum opus Middlemarch it gets a somewhat confectionary appearance...have you read the latter book yet?)


Apatt Not yet Terry, got it lined up (again in audio format). It's much longer than Silas isn't it?

I tend to read sci-fi in print and classics in audio.


Terry Oh yeah, it's a real kitten-squisher! I 'read' the audio format of _Middlemarch_ as well, though instead of Librivox (which I do occasionally use when the narrator is good) I listened to the one narrated by Nadia May and she was fantastic, so I highly recommend that one if you can find it.


Apatt Terry wrote: "Oh yeah, it's a real kitten-squisher! I 'read' the audio format of _Middlemarch_ as well, though instead of Librivox (which I do occasionally use when the narrator is good) I listened to the one na..."

Audible's audiobooks tend to be expensive, and they seem to have a monopoly. May be I'll try Ebay or acquire it by nefarious means ;)


Michael Ah, the search for eloquence. So hard to find in sci fi.

You make me wish I didn't miss reading this one. I see you have a "yang" to the "yin" of scary kids in Lord of the Flies:
The transformation of Silas from a miserable antisocial recluse to a popular kindly man rings very true to me. I have personally experienced a similar transformation when a child entered my life .


message 6: by Apatt (last edited Oct 11, 2013 08:48PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Apatt Now I'm on Don Quixote. Goodness knows how that's gonna turn out. His relentless insanity is getting a bit old. If reading so much fiction can drive a man insane and give him a hero or knighthood delusion I'd be just as crazy by now.

Excuse me, I see a signal in the sky. To the Batcave!


message 7: by Lizzy (new) - added it

Lizzy Great review, Apatt. It seems my kind of read and I'm adding it. Thanks for sharing. L.


Apatt Lizzy wrote: "Great review, Apatt. It seems my kind of read and I'm adding it. Thanks for sharing. L."

Thank you, Lizzy. I love this book, it moved me :)


Ivana Books Are Magic great review. I liked that part about the credibility of a child entering one's life and changing it for the better....I do believe that is possible. One of the joys of working with children is that you see positive results immediately. As soon as we devote some time and attention to them, children flourish. Nothing restores the faith in human kind more easily.

You nailed that part about simple eloquence. I think she did a great job of making every character speak with the words suitable for their position and education, but still managed to make them sound eloquent...and most importantly she made us hear them. When you look at it, the dialogues are not that long and elaborate in this one, but they always convey a strong sense of a character.


Apatt Ivana wrote: "great review. I liked that part about the credibility of a child entering one's life and changing it for the better....I do believe that is possible. One of the joys of working with children is tha..."

Thank you so much Ivana. Did you read Middlemarch? Too long for my liking without much happening in the first half. Still, it was a while ago I may have to reread it!
It's great that we both switch between classics and sci-fi, eh? ;)


message 11: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth E. R. The author is my favorite for beautiful composition of the English language. Her sentences are works of art! She is not only writing a story but also painting a picture, stroke by stroke, layer upon layer. And what a glorious finish!


Apatt Ruth wrote: "The author is my favorite for beautiful composition of the English language. Her sentences are works of art! She is not only writing a story but also painting a picture, stroke by stroke, layer upo..."

Thank you, Ruth. I should read more Eliots really 😊


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