Barchester Towers

Barchester Towers - Anthony Trollope This is one of those books on which it is impossible to have an original opinion; however, as someone who has never actually watched a television adaptation, but nonetheless grew up in the television age, I must say I was repeatedly struck by how well this seemed as if it would adapt to TV. The set scenes, the easily distinguishable and quirky characters (but not so quirky that the major ones lost their humanity), the straightforwardly understandable plot of the three suitors (hello, Shakespeare!) - I pretty much read it with a 17-inch moving picture in my mind's eye. I'm very late in coming to Trollope, but I must say I have unexpectedly taken a liking to his combination of satire and compassion. He even makes us occasionally sympathize with the despicable Mr. Slope!

On the whole, I find Trollope's male characters considerably more successful than his female ones, depending, of course, on how you define success. Eleanor Bold doesn't get much room for action, other than slapping Mr. Slope's face and then anguishing over it; the fascinating bad woman, Madeline (Stanhope) Neroni, although she seems at first interesting in her combination of afflictions and wiles, doesn't get much beyond being a vamp and a schemer. The older women are essentially targets of satire only. The men have quite a bit more range, both in field of action and in the amount of interior description we are given - only to be expected, I suppose.

I wavered some time over whether or not to give this four stars - if there was a 3 1/2, I would cheerfully use it.