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Summary

This work, George Eliot's fiction debut, contains three stories, all of which aim to disclose the value hidden in the commonplace.

The Sad Fortunes of the Rev. Amos Barton, through vignettes of his life, portrays a character who is hard to like and easy to ridicule. Many people do ridicule as well as slander and despise him, until his suffering shocks them into fellowship and sympathy.

In Mr. Gilfil's Love-Story, Eliot brings forth conflicting value systems revolving around a young woman, Caterina, and two men, Wybrow, who is capable of loving only himself, and Mr. Gilfil, whose love for Caterina is selfless and perceptive.

The story Janet's Repentance is an account of conversion from sinfulness to righteousness achieved through the selfless endeavors of an Evangelical clergyman.

(P)1998 Blackstone Audio Inc.

Critic reviews

"The exquisite truth and delicacy, both of the humor and the pathos of those stories, I have never seen the like of." (Charles Dickens)
"It is a first-rate novel, and its author takes rank at once among the masters of the art." (London Times)

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    5 out of 5 stars

Early Eliot worth investigating.

It would be a pity if anyone was put off this book by the unpromising tile. It was the first imaginative fiction published by George Eliot . Though it is possible to find fault with some of the plotting and characterisation,it is by no means mere apprentice work.There is the same sane, compassionate but sharp view of human nature eloquently expressed that is to be found in the later more expansive novels. If you have enjoyed Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss you will find much to give delight in these three stories.

Nadia May is, as always, an intelligent and entertaining reader.She excels both in conveying clearly the argument of reflective passages of analysis and reflection and in doing full justice to George Eliot's ear for a wide range of speech. It is an accomplished reading that illuminates the text.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Early Eliot worth investigating.

It would be a pity if anyone was put off this book by the unpromising tile. It was the first imaginative fiction published by George Eliot . Though it is possible to find fault with some of the plotting and characterisation,it is by no means mere apprentice work.There is the same sane, compassionate but sharp view of human nature eloquently expressed that is to be found in the later more expansive novels. If you have enjoyed Middlemarch or The Mill on the Floss you will find much to give delight in these three stories.

Nadia May is, as always, an intelligent and entertaining reader.She excels both in conveying clearly the argument of reflective passages of analysis and reflection and in doing full justice to George Eliot's ear for a wide range of speech. It is an accomplished reading that illuminates the text.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert C. Causey
  • 07-04-21

The first work...from a very old soul

I came to this having read Middlemarch, then Adam Bede, and then Scenes of Clerical Life. This is the work of someone already well accomplished - nothing juvenile about it, that I can see. The detail of thoughts, feelings, and sensations, is so thorough that one thinks, feels, and senses as one would who was born in that era. The book seems to owe much to Aeschylus, and the idea that wisdom (only?) comes from suffering. Behind the drab title lie stories through the darker reaches of human experience, involving pain, regret, and redemption. The narration is excellent in conveying every voice suggested by the author. A common thread in all these stories, and indeed in everything I have yet read by George Eliot, is a slow start with seemingly mundane but comical detail of the characters and relationships. But, quite suddenly, one becomes totally invested in one of the characters, and it is impossible to put the book down (or press stop) as the character we now care for confronts the darkest chapter of their life.

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  • Gregory Eiselein
  • 27-05-20

Underrated Classic: George Eliot’s First Book of Fiction

This book is an underrated classic. A collection of three well developed novellas, It is emotionally and intellectually powerful the audiobook is well read in terms of dialect, feeling, and meaning. It is a great book. Adam Bede by George Eliot, her next book, is even better.

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  • Mark Kizhnerman
  • 12-06-19

Amazing reader!

This reader must surely be an actor as she convinced me at times that I was listening to the actual characters speak. Well done!