Friday, September 21, 2018

#PalliserParty: The Prime Minister by Anthony Trollope


*There are no spoilers in this post.*

Five down and one to go! After finishing The Prime Minister, book five of six in the Palliser series, our #PalliserParty is nearing its final act. What a pleasure (and welcome escape from today's reality) to be back in Trollope's world.

Our old friend Plantagenate Palliser, or Planty Pal, is now the Duke of Omnium and Prime Minister of England. We were first introduced back in the Barsetshire series, but he plays a starring role here. An honorable, principled man, I've yet to truly warm up to him and, at this point, I'm expecting I never will. Other friends are here, too, including the Duke's wife, Glencora, and Phineas Finn and his second wife, the former Madame Max.

Ferdinand Lopez is, by far, the most intriguing new character in this novel... so loathsome and easy to despise. Trollope has outdone himself with this villain!

Trollope treats us to two parallel stories in The Prime Minister - one mostly political, the other more about life and love. The political story centers, of course, on the new Prime Minister and his coalition government, though it does has some touching moments as Trollope explores the deep understanding and respect between Plantagenet Palliser and his wife Glencora.

The other story features the not-to-be trusted newcomer, Ferdinand Lopez, and well-off Wharton and Fletcher families. Love and tragedy figure into this part of the story, as Lopez woos Emily Wharton. Against the wishes of both families, she chooses Lopez over Arthur Fletcher, setting the stage for much misery and suffering. The are brief intersections in the two stories.

Once again, Trollope has masterfully created real characters and real relationships. His novels deal with a variety of issues, many still relevant today.

The Prime Minister  advances the story of the Palliser family and I enjoyed it immensely. It is not, however, a novel to read if you are unfamiliar with the previous books in this series. I hope to read the final book, The Duke's Children, before the end of the year.

As always, thank you, Audrey, for reading with me. I hope we come up with a new project for 2019...



13 comments:

  1. I love the way you read so many classics. It's been YEARS since I've read one.

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    1. Kathy - I haven't read many this year, but the ones I've read have been so enjoyable.

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  2. I agree that this was a fine addition to The Palliser Books. I think that Planty Pal is by design difficult to warm to but very virtuous.

    Before you read The Duke’s Children you may want to consider that there is now a restored version available. Apparently almost a third of the book was cut from Trollope’s original. This version is a little hard to find but i ordered it from my inter - library lending system.

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    1. Brian - I'm so glad you mentioned the restored version of The Duke's Children! It does sound familiar and I was planning to do some research, but will certainly seek out that version. The others have been free downloads, but I will likely buy the physical book for that one. My library system does not have a copy. It will also pose some difficulties for my read/listen method...

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  3. I thought it was fascinating that Trollope made Lopez such a complete (and delicious!) villain and then expressed sympathy and tolerance for him right before the end, suggesting that he really didn't know better/know what it meant to be a gentleman. It's an interesting argument, but hard to agree with.
    And, oh, yes, we will need another project after no. 6, because reading with you is wonderful!

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    1. Audrey - That aspect shocked me. I couldn't accept the sympathy/tolerance angle at all... interesting that Trollope even went there. Lopez is right of there with Mr. Slope in the villain department!

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    2. And... reading with you is a pleasure, too!!

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  4. I read the first 3 Palliser novels and look forward to reading them all. Anthony Trollope is my favorite author. He creates the best characters I have found in novels, from villains to heroes to wise women and foolish women, it is all there.

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    1. Terra - Trollope has become one of my favorite, too! His characters are simply the best. Overall, I'm still more fond of the Barsetshire Chronicles chronicle, but reading the Pallisers has been an awesome experience, too.

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  5. When I started reading this series I was sure it couldn't be as good as the Barchester books but I ended up loving the Palliser series even more, as you say - so many of the situations are still relevant today.

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    1. Katrina - It's funny, but when I started the Pallisers my expectations were low. I wasn't sure I'd enjoy books about politics. Of course, they have turned out to be wonderful... I'll be sorry to see the series end.

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  6. How wonderful that these books never let you down!

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    1. Lisa - It's always a pleasure to read Trollope! I'm looking forward to reading some of his many stand-alone novels after finishing the Pallisers.

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