I picked this up on a whim, mainly because I saw it and I have wanted to read some George Eliot for ages – however Middlemarch seemed a little intimidating during my exams and when I saw the size of this I nabbed it up. I knew relatively little about it and went in to it blind – which was fun.
Silas Marner is an eponymous novel which for me was quite reminiscent of the story in A Christmas Carol; an isolated, mean spirited man learns kindness and love. It was also reminiscent of a fairy tale in it’s plot in the sense that there is a man who comes to a small village, weaves, hoards his money and then – some time later – there is a theft; he is forced to mix with the locals to try and find out who did it but this opens him up to the population of the village. Time passes, there’s a brief Christmas-y interlude and then we’re introduced to Eppie who changes things. For the better.
That isn’t really any more than what is in the blurb and, at 210 pages it’s not exactly anything more than that as a story, quite truthfully. Sometimes this book felt too long, there wasn’t really much happening but then, when something happened it felt rushed. It took about 100 pages before I actually felt invested in it and then I read the second half within a couple of hours which I was really happy with!
I like Eliot’s writing, it’s really quite easy to read for a classic. I liked this to the point that I’ve ordered The Mill on the Floss and am looking to find the Penguin English Library edition of Daniel Deronda too. I really enjoyed this, I just wish the first 100 pages were 50 pages and the final 100 were 150 because the second half was just so much more interesting! I really loved Eppie and I really think, had the novel focused more on the events after Eppie arrived it would have been a 4/5 opposed to a 3 for me.
Ultimately, this is a solid, short, relatively quick-to-read classic which scraped the surface of my classic-craving. I can’t wait to get around to Middlemarch. 3/5!