This is the second book of the Barchester series. It was first published in 1857, two years after the first book (The Warden) which I posted about earlier. Like the Warden, the story takes place in the fictional English cathedral town of Barchester in the fictional Barsetshire. I'm about a third of the way through it.
As much as I liked The Warden, I like this one even more. In the two years between the books, Trollope really got his act together! Trollope's storytelling skill and engaging use of language are top notch.
Barchester Towers is much more of a comedy than The Warden. It is a comedy driven by character and social situations. Sort of a comedic soap opera. Very English. Here is a small example:
- Dr Stanhope, a church rector. Father of:
Bertie, a ne'er-do-well idler. He does have considerable artistic skill which has not yet come into play at my point in the story.
Charlotte, who keeps her head when others are not keeping theirs. She manages the family finances.
- [discussing a dunning letter addressed to Stanhope because Bertie has ignored a debt]
Stanhope Does he think I'll pay that?
Charlotte I'm sure he thinks no such thing.
Stanhope And who does he think will pay it?
Charlotte I suppose it won't much matter if it never gets paid.
So, no knee-slappers, but very amusing. Other humor depends more on being up on the current state of affairs and the droll way Trollope narrates so can't be as easily sampled.