Reputed as Eliot’s favourite novel Silas Marner is set in the early years of the 19th century. Marner, a weaver, is a member of a small congregation in Lantern Yard. Falsely accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he leaves his home and lives a solitary life near the village of Raveloe. Dedicating his life to weaving and hoarding gold for the next 15 years, circumstances beyond his control shape his destiny and when his gold is stolen, he is rescued from despair by the arrival on his lonely hearth of a beautiful little girl, whom he adopts, and through whom he and the other people of the village learn that loving relationships are more fulfilling than material wealth.
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A little child will lead him
I knew the basic premise of this classic but had never read it, and one of the great surprises for me was the kind and honest nature of the title character. I had assumed Silas was a miser in the same sense of Ebeneezer Scrooge – mean spirited and callous. But far from turning bitter from the betrayal by his best friend and the abandonment by his fiancee, Silas is bewildered and hurt. His antisocial life results more from self-protection than from a hard nature. When a thief lands one more blow by stealing the only treasure he has, Silas is utterly lost and wondering if God has also abandoned him. So his heart is actually relieved to find that even if his church abandoned him, God did not, and sent him a child to care for, and with that care came love and redemption.
Eliot has written a story that is not just heartwarming in the sentimental sense, but in its reminder that we can choose how we respond to the adversities that life will inevitably send our way. Eppie showed Silas that by maintaining human contact and keeping an open and receptive heart he had fortune far greater than the hard gold coins that were taken from him.
I have never listened to any narrations from Tadhg Hynes before, but when I listened to the sample I was immediately drawn by his voice. That magic carried throughout the entire story, making it much more accessible. A perfect way to experience this classic, and highly recommended if you have ever hesitated to dive into this story.
9 people found this helpful
A heartwarming classic, superbly narrated
A man betrayed and condemned is restored to his humanity. By reaching out in compassion to someone in need of protection, he regenerates his capacity to love others. His emergence from his hermetic shell takes place amongst a lively intermingling of village folk. Each character is many-faceted and deftly portrayed by Tadgh Hynes. He possesses an exceptional gift to bring forth the rich colors in this tapestry of village life. There's much wit in the observations, deftly handled. Highly recommended!
4 people found this helpful