I used to post book reviews on a relatively constant frequency, but the reason I have not been doing that lately is mostly because I have been caught up in the slow-paced monster that is Middlemarch, by George Eliot.
According to Kindle, I was 57% of the way through when I finally decided that I could not stand the idiocy of the characters anymore and even though I had devoted countless dinnertimes to reading about these idiocies, I could not do so anymore.
The problem is not Eliot’s writing style or the plot. The problem is the theme of moral ambiguity, and the characters come to embody it. In fact, most people consider this to be the crowning achievement of this book (like Virginia Woolf); unlike Jane Austen’s “walled garden”, Eliot presents a world that is organic and what we would encounter in reality.
Yet, this sort of wispiness of resolve and lack of a discernable dignity just disgusts me for some reason. It is the same reason why I could not finish The Memory Keeper’s Daughter.
Perhaps it is because reality is so stressful, that this sort of insouciance with one’s own destiny pains me. Novels are to get away from the stress, not to shove it so down my throat, not to remind me that people sometimes are incapable of heroic acts, acts that allow for a greater conscience than what they originally have. Or perhaps I really do not mean heroic– I really mean acts that carry a Michelle-stamp-of-approval. Perhaps.
Verdict: Please read. It is rather a good book, well-written and well-structured. If you read 57% of it, and you still feel invested in the non-idiocy of its characters, please read on. If not, please join my newly minted club, TAIED (They’re All Idiots, Especially Dorothea).