Review: Silas Marner by George Eliot

YFBE6659[1]Fairly recently I delved back into the world of classics, giving the much loved author Edith Wharton another go with her novel Ethan Frome. I’d previously read The House of Mirth by her and hadn’t been very impressed, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Ethan Frome in comparison. Feeling inspired by this, I decided to revisit another classic author; George Eliot. Middlemarch, arguably her most famous work, was a novel I studied in University, and whilst I appreciated the talent within it, I also found it lengthy and pretty boring. However, I knew that many people loved this author, so I decided to give her another go with the much shorter and therefore much quicker read of Silas Marner.

Silas Marner tells the story of the eponymous titular character. Wrongly accused of theft by those he most trusted, Silas is forced to leave the place he calls home, making his way to the smaller rural village of Raveloe. Here he establishes his usefulness in the community as a weaver, yet despite his skills Silas refuses to integrate himself into Raveloe’s society. He lives on the fringes of the rural village, a man whose strange ways cause the local folk to easily condemn him, whilst the children run in fear. All that Silas cares for is his precious stash of coins, saved meticulously over the many years. Yet when his gold is stolen, Silas is forced to once more face society, a task that becomes all the more urgent when an orphaned child, Eppie, finds her way into Silas home and heart. Through Eppie, can Silas transform his life for ever?

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Review: Moby Dick by Herman Melville

IMG_9462[1]‘Call me Ishmael’. These words are famous, immediately conjuring Captain Ahab and his mad quest to kill the eponymous whale, Moby Dick.  The novel, written by Herman Melville, has reached iconic status, considered one of the greatest novels of all time. Yet still it continues to massively divide people, bringing a ‘love it’ or ‘hate it’ attitude to the vast majority of people who have read it. In all honestly this isn’t the first time I’ve technically read Moby Dick. I did read it during my childhood years, borrowing the book from the library and delving into a story which went almost entirely over my head. That’s why reading it this time round felt like a completely new experience, finally ticking of one of the massive classics on my to-read list.

I’m pretty certain the vast majority of people already know what Moby Dick is about, but for those who don’t I’ll give a quick little overview. The story is told from the perspective of Ishmael, a man who we first meet as he is set to embark on his first ever experience of working on a whaling ship. The ship itself is controlled by Captain Ahab, a man with a wooden leg whom we soon discover has a hidden agenda on this expedition. Ahab is determined to track down and kill Moby Dick, the infamous white whale who bit off Ahab’s leg at the knee during a previous encounter. Determined to stop at nothing, even death, Ahab drives his team deep into the most unforgiving of waters, caring for nothing else besides his revenge.

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