Silas Marner is about a lonely weaver who moves to a small town after he was falsely accused of a crime in his hometown. His new neighbors are superstitious and wonder why he’d move there – and they treat him accordingly. He finds solace in the gold he saves from his weaving, hiding it under his floor and counting it every night. Until someone steals it. After that, he’s miserable; everyone thinks he’s crazy. Then, one night, a child appears at his hearth. He soon discovers that the child’s mother lies dead outside. Silas decides to keep the child and raise her as his own. Turns out that the child’s real father (spoiler!) is a rich man in the town, but said rich man doesn’t want anyone to know that he’d been married and had a child with a poor woman before he’d married someone closer to his social stature. And I guess I shouldn’t go too much farther with the plot, or you’ll be pissed at me if you read the book.
Because it’s good, and it’s worth reading. I really enjoyed Silas Marner, though it was a bit slow going. There were some spots that seemed to go on forever. I know why Eliot put those scenes in, but I wish she’d kept them a little shorter. This novel is also my first experience with George Eliot. When I was in college, I shunned anything related to the Victorian (which also explains why I did so badly on the Lit GRE back in the day). I didn’t even read A Tale of Two Cities or Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre until after I’d finished my English degree. Which is absolutely crazy. I’d always assumed I’d hate them. Okay, I didn’t especially like Wuthering Heights, but alas.
Anyway, Silas Marner is good, and you should give it a read if you haven’t already. It’s a pretty stereotypical Victorian novel – and a short one. I’m going to give George Eliot another try soon, though I’m a little concerned that if her longer novels are as slow in parts, I might not end up finishing them.
(Also, check out In the process of reading: Silas Marner.)