This review is overdue. I am writing and finishing it now in another country but posting it after my holiday. This novel was the last novel I read in 2022 and one of the best.
This is a true classic. It is well written with a large, diverse cast of characters, some that you root for and some that you love to hate. It feels humane and true to life. It’s very similar to classics such as War and Peace, Far from the Madding Crowd,, Middlemarch (which I haven’t read yet but it always feels like I have), and Jane Austen novels.
This is one of the longest single volume novels in English literature. I was fortunate to read this over the course of three days including Remembrance Day so I did not have to work. I was was feeling poorly due to my covid booster but it allowed me to get through most of this novel thankfully.
Like the war parts War and Peace, I did find the political aspects of the novel a tad boring and my attention waned. Other than that, everything else was engrossing. The characters are rich. Everything happens in the space of the year but it did not feel tedious or long. I did worry that things would not resolve quickly enough because the pace was not as quick as it could have been. Then again, that sort of reflects life.
There is some tragedy and I was surprised that I was triggered by a mentally ill character in this novel. One of the characters experiences episodes of psychosis. I’ve had experiences with someone very close to me who has gone through it. I felt very sad and disturbed when reading the passages.
I know a sequel was announced about 14 years ago, and I am looking forward to it whenever it does get published.
Reading this novel reminded how much I love classics and reminded me about the 1001 books list. I revived it and will aim to read more classical books fro my stash in 2023.
4.5/5 stars. Read November 10-12, 2022. Review finished January 1, 2023.