Context: Finished off while driving down to Reading to pick up the wife from a friend’s place.
The 1001 Books list has totally changed the way I read novels. It’s given me access to writers that have deeply influenced the way I see the world and has given me memories of characters and storylines that have been incredibly powerful. And then it’s introduced me to Elizabeth Gaskell and the trivial wittering rubbish of Cranford.
This is a book about absolutely nothing. I recently thought Northanger Abbey lacked any substance. How very wrong I was. Cranford redefines pointlessness. I waited in vain for one significant thing to happen throughout the entire book and, when it finally did, the novel ended. It was an audio book and, for a minute, I thought my mp3 player had had a fit and I’d lost some files. But no, that was it.
My mother in law asked me why it was so bad. To help her understand I asked her to imagine following a contemporary blog of some young 20-something whose life is filled with triviality, all of which she details every day. You meet her shallow friends with bland personalities, hear her discuss with avid attention for pages and pages things that shouldn’t justify a blink of attention. That’s Cranford, the petty ramblings of a young woman with nothing better to do. Even Wikipedia can’t come up with much on this one.
I’m glad the reading’s over with… now I’ll just sit back and wait for the Gaskell-ites to comment and try to sell this one to me. Just go ahead and try, I dare you 😉
In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses, above a certain rent, are women.
We all love Miss Matty, and I somehow think we are all of us better when she is near us.