Do you ever ask yourself this because 'To Trollope or not to Trollope' is a question I often ask myself and I wonder if others see Trollope as I do?
Susan Hill has not one but two of the great man's novels in her list of 40 books so I don't think she'd know about this at all.
For some inexplicable reason a read of an Anthony Trollope novel rarely seems to come to fruition unless I'm in search of a long seasonal read and want to set aside all else and dive into one book over a long holiday week.
Then somehow I seem to talk myself right out of it again and remain un-Trolloped until the next time.
I don't quite know what the problem is, perhaps I've come to it all too late in life. I've dabbled in the first three Barsetshires and done a bit of Pallisering in recent years, but sadly my heart doesn't do that little leap of joy at the sight or thought of a Trollope.
So when a big fat package arrived from The Reader magazine containing my next surprise classic read for their Readers Connect page, (last time My Antonia by Willa Cather) I spent a fair bit of time wondering if I was in for a Dickens or a Dostoevsky when to my surprise out fell a Trollope...I won't reveal which one, but to my un-Trolloped mind it's less well-known. I can always be won over by a new volume of anything if I'm honest, who can dislike the arrival of a brand new book with an invitation to read it, rate it and comment accordingly. So despite the book's deceptive weight (hefty) I was pleasantly surprised on turning to the final page to discover it was a mere 400 or so pages long...how odd that it felt so much heavier than that.
So I was quite relieved for about two minutes or so as I flicked through, except hold on what's this, halfway through another p400 quickly followed by another p1?
Yes I'd been duped, it's that Trollopian classic, a book of two halves, 800 + pages and eek, I gulped.
All was not lost because has anyone else been listening to Radio 4's Open Book and the Neglected Classics?
Well-known writers have set off for the hustings, climbing onto their literary soapboxes to try and convince us why their choice of a Neglected Classic should win our vote. The result will be announced on November 7th, so still time to choose your favourite.
I caught it on one of my Completer-Finisher afternoons and JoanneTrollope waved the family flag and advanced good, solid reasons for reading a lesser known Trollope novel, Miss Mackenzie (not the one I've been sent) and she sold it, and Anthony, to me most persuasively, hook, line etc. Duty-bound to read her illustrious ancestor as a child, Joanna Trollope cited this as one of the treat novels after a wade through some of the mightier tomes. The gold-diggers arriving to court Miss Mackenzie, the on-the-shelf spinster who suddenly finds herself in possession of wealth and in unaccustomed demand; a novel that Joanna Trollope argued would be eminently well-suited to the serialisation which will be the final accolade for the winner of the public vote.
The suggestions have been varied and unusual but bless Michael Morpurgo for his choice, a favourite here too, The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. Radio mention of each seems to have sent sales whizzing up the Amazon charts, I know those sales figures can be deceptive but Miss Mackenzie can't have been anywhere near the 485 it seems to be as I write this, with Susan Hill's choice The Rector's Daughter by F.M.Mayor, likewise now hovering at 294 and Colm Toibin's selection, Esther Waters by George Moore at 963. I feel sure they would all have been languishing down in the six figure doldrums for years until now.
So I felt comforted, and thanks to Joanna, Trollopely re-energised and once I emerge from this year's Remembrance reading and get back into the groove I shall pick up...no, can't tell you what it is, with the same enthusiasm I always have for this little collaboration with The Reader magazine, and we'll see what happens next.