Title: Daniel Deronda
Author: George Eliot
Genre: Victorian Classic, Realist Fiction
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Synopsis from Goodreads:
As Daniel Deronda opens, Gwendolen Harleth is poised at the roulette-table, prepared to throw away her family fortune. She is observed by Daniel Deronda, a young man groomed in the finest tradition of the English upper-classes. And while Gwendolen loses everything and becomes trapped in an oppressive marriage, Deronda’s fortunes take a different turn. After a dramatic encounter with Mirah, a young Jewish woman, he embarks on a search for her lost family and finds himself drawn into ever-deeper sympathies with Jewish aspirations and identity. ‘I meant everything in the book to be related to everything else’, wrote George Eliot of her last and, perhaps, most ambitious novel, and in weaving her plot strands together she created a bold and richly textured picture of British society and the Jewish experience both within and beyond it.
and welcome to my Book Review of Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot. I read this novel for my course on Victorian Soundscapes, where we analyze novels in relation to sounds – both musical and rural/urban sounds. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, which recounts a story of redemption. If you want to know more of my thoughts, keep on reading!
- Plot: the plot of this novel is not its strongest asset. This is a character driven book, and, in the end, all the ties come together. Some plot twists happen, however they are not utterly unexpected. Sometimes these plot twists are rather convenient, which was a bit annoying for me. I also enjoyed the plot surrounding Gwendolyn Harleth more than the one surrounding Daniel Deronda himself, however, that is merely a personal preference.
- Characters: characters are definitely the strength of this novel. Eliot is able to evoke extremely believable and realistic characters, who are flawed and multifaceted. I truly appreciated how flashed out everyone was, from the protagonists to secondary appearances, like Miss Arrowpoint and her music master, Klesmer. At times I could identify with Gwendolen’s thinking, and I loved her growth and development throughout the book.
- Writing: George Eliot is an excellent writer. Her power lays in her ability to vividly evoke abstract concepts and describe people’s characters in a realistic manner. However, sometimes her descriptions can drag. Nonetheless, I truly enjoyed the deep psychological insight she provided and it was interesting to see how objective she could be in the description of the people populating her story.
These are my brief thoughts on this novel. Let me know if you have read it and what you thought of it!
Until next time,