Monday, March 2, 2009

Thoughts on 'Phineas Finn'

To be honest, the first time I read 'Phineas Finn' I wasn't totally overwhelmed by the experience. I preferred 'Phineas redux' (for reasons I have forgotten but will recall in the weeks to come) the first time I read it. However, I had the chance to take 'Phineas' up again and read it from cover to cover. Last time, the ton's worth of British politics turned me right off. It can't be helped, considering Finn's choice of career. Sometimes I wonder if some politicians consider politics a dalliance/waste of money. It certainly seemed like that in Victorian times. Those M.P.'s certainly weren't earning a whole lot of money. A shame they earn money sitting on their duffs these days, wasting everyone else's money. Okay, I take such a grim view of politics that it will be better to just get back to talking about the book.
'Phineas Finn' is a rather well rendered look at life for the upperclass Victorian. That's all Trollope seems to look at when casting his eye around him. It's why I sometimes prefer Dickens, although I confess that I haven't read Dickens for a long while. 'Phineas Finn' is the second book in the Palliser series, and I like the personal plot (I don't think you can really call it a sub-plot, as the title character has his professional life and his personal life, and the pair rarely mix) much more than the professional one. Finn's got his eye on a few ladies (3, but who's counting?) and chooses the Irish lass over the heavily monied widow after being turned down by two upperclass society ladies. Actually, one turns him down and then manoeuvers him away from the other, for reasons that probably wouldn't wash these days, although they make sense for the time.
Lady Laura is the more complex character (between her and Phineas, I mean). She turns him down because of money and steers him away from a wealthy young woman so this lass will go to her brother. Her brother's a jerk, by the way, and not really deserving of such compassion (he ain't heavy, at least he's not MY brother). I don't think Trollope wanted to punish her for dumping Finn, but making her marry Kennedy (the book's cold fish) would surely punish me should I be made to undergo that fate. Can you tell I don't want to get married, ever? Finn doesn't like Kennedy, but he does manage to save his life. Not something I would've done, but again, that's my take on the matter.
These are some of the thoughts I've had about this book. Well-written and worth a look, but don't look too long over the political parts. It'll put you to sleep. BYE.

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