Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Silas Marner by George Eliot

Source: Librivox
Length: 6 hr, 46 min
Reader: rachelellen

Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe is a book about a man first isolated by his community, then brought back in. Silas is kicked out of the weaver's guild after being wrongly accused of theft. He tries to begin a new life in the hamlet of Raveloe, but his attempts to join the community are regarded with suspicion. He falls in to hoarding the gold he gains from his weaving, and it takes an unlikely series of events to draw him back out again.

Elliot manages to alleviate the pathos of Silas's story by interspersing it with the story of two sons of the village's major landholder. These active personalities lift the resigned mood of the narrative and provide an engine to the plot. Eliot's vivid descriptions of Silas's cottage, of formal dances, and of the people of Raveloe likewise give the story a life it would otherwise lack.

I think the themes of isolation from the community in this story as as relevant today as when they were written. Personally, I know only one of my neighbors well, a few others by name, and most not at all. Although online communities are wonderful things, I believe that George Eliot would still want us to connect to our physical communities.

Rating: 7/10

The reader: Librivox reader rachelellen provides a captivating performance. Her warm alto voice lends life to Eliot's sometimes antiquated prose.
She doesn't attempt elaborate characters, but pronounces words distinctly with an American accent. Listening on headphones, I could hear a faint background hiss, but no other noise. This is a good straightforward recording that brings out Eliot's language to its full potential.

No comments: