In this world of bribes, vendettas, and swindling, in which heiresses are gambled and won, Trollope's characters embody all the vices: Lady Carbury is 'false from head to foot'; her son Felix has 'the instincts of a horse, not approaching the higher sympathies of a dog'; and Melmotte - the colossal figure who dominates the book - is a 'horrid, big, rich scoundrel...a bloated swindler...a vile city ruffian'. But as vile as he is, he is considered one of Trollope's greatest creations.
Trollope's highly regarded satire is about the dishonest and villainous financier, Augustus Melmotte, who captivates and buys his way into the corrupt aristocratic society of London, throwing it into turmoil.
Described by The Guardian as 'the darkest of Trollope's 47 novels' it is also the longest with gloriously rich subplots. Inspired by the financial scandals of the 1870s, the novel is a dramatization of how greed and dishonesty permeated life during that era.
The Way We Live Now has become recognised as Trollope's masterpiece and was featured at Number 22 in The Guardian's 100 best novels.
Timothy West is prolific in film, television, theatre, and audiobooks. He has narrated a number of Anthony Trollope's classic audiobooks, including the six Chronicles of Barsetshire and The Pallisers series. He has also narrated volumes of Simon Schama's A History of Britain and John Mortimer's Rumpole on Trial.
Timothy West's theatrical credits include King Lear, The Vote, Uncle Vanya, A Number, Quarter, and Coriolanus and his films include Ever After, Joan Of Arc, Endgame, Iris, and The Day of the Jackal. On television, Timothy has appeared in Broken Biscuits (BBC), Great Canal Journeys (across 3 Series), and the regular role of Stan Carter on EastEnders (BBC).
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sharon on 15-11-09
Timothy West and Trollope is the best combination I know of, I was dismissive of audiobooks until the delight of hearing unabridged Trollope read by this most intelligent of interpreters came my way - all of his readings of Trollope are utterly exquisite and the clever perceptions of the author are conveyed to the listener with exactly the right nuances. Please Mr West, if you ever read this review, have my thanks and pleas to continue your sensitive portrayals of the entire Trollope novels. You are a national treasure - just as these undervalued books are.
63 of 63 people found this review helpful
By Sandra on 12-12-09
A book for the 21st Century
I am very fond of Trollope's works but hadn't read "The Way We Live Now" before purchasing this audiobook. It has been so difficult to switch it off and I have been held captive throughout. I know the book has its detractors but I found it full of wisdom and compassion. It is not just of historical interest but says a lot about how we live now in the 21st century. The mistakes in the original text have been retained but it's quite fun to spot them as the reading goes on. Timothy West is masterful as always and does full justice to a wonderful novel.
32 of 32 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Nardia on 03-03-10
Long, but well worth it.
I have to admit to buying this audiobook solely for the reason that I wanted an author I'd never read before, and a story that would last a while. At 32 hours it did that, BUT, I really enjoyed it. It took a few chapters to get into the scenery as there was a plethora of character's names to remember, but Timothy West convinced me that there was treasure to come. He does an awesome job with the accents and different voices for each character. It really seemed like a a full cast performing a perfectly timed dialogue. As for the storyline, I'll leave that to the publisher's description because my review would go way over the 2000 letters allowed. Put it this way, - hearing this book made me look up and watch the entire new BBC film version on youTube at 10 min intervals because the DVD was unavailable in my area. I look forward to more Anthony Trollope, and definately more Timothy West.
36 of 37 people found this review helpful
By Victor on 04-02-11
For My Money, Better than Dickens
I bought this book because I had been listening to Victorian literature, familiarizing myself with some works that I had neglected earlier in my life, and the reviews were so positive I decided to give The Way We Live Now a try. I had not even heard of Anthony Trollope until now. To say that I am pleasantly surprised would be a terrible understatement. Trollope skewers the money and status-obsessed upper class of late 19th century London in a manner that surpasses Dickens or any other author I am familiar with from that time. He relentlessly exposes the neuroticism, betrayal, greed, jealousy and lack of authenticity that characterize humanity in general, but were especially salient in that highly constrained society.
Unlike Dickens, Trollope does not give the reader any syrupy and lovable characters. He exposes everyone as self-obsessed and challenges the reader to love them in spite of their flaws, and God help us, we do. We empathize with Trollope's rogues and victims because we see a bit of ourselves in them and appreciate the fact that that at bottom each of them is vulnerable.
Much has been said of Timothy West's narration. It is, as previously reviewed, pitch perfect in every way. I particularly liked his take on Mrs. Carberry and her insufferable whining. Also, the narrator's voice had just the right blend of intelligence, wit and irony. I can easily see how this work might be tepid in less skilled hands.
Highly recommend. It's more cynical than Dickens, but also more intelligent, and that is what gives it its tremendous satirical bite.
27 of 28 people found this review helpful