Sunday, April 11, 2010
Cranford by: Elizabeth Gaskell
With a series of sketches, the novel lovingly describes the "adventures" of middle-aged ladies in the quiet country village of Cranford in the 1830's. Despite their poverty, residents of the village are kind, decent, and thoroughly proper.
I had to read Cranford for a class I'm taking. It was a pretty pleasant read. It's slow and hard to get into at first, but about halfway through the novel the overall quaintness of the town and its inhabitants kept me interested. Miss Matty was just a sweetheart, and I liked the main character (though I didn't like how you don't learn her name until the end of the book). The novel is written almost as a series of short stories about the town, instead of a continuing plot. There are continuing themes throughout the novel, but each chapter is, essentially, its own story. I liked that. I think that was partly due to the fact that Cranford was a serial publication.
If you're interested in British literature, I would definitely recommend Cranford. It contrasts with a lot of the ideas in society at the time, but reflects some also. And the atmosphere of the small town works to the novel's advantage.
In all, I didn't hate the novel, but I don't know if I'll ever reread it. It's pleasant enough for one read through.
Overall rating: 7/10