I have read and reviewed many of Anthony Trollope’s novels including the famous Palliser and Barchester series of books. When I tire of reading modern novels, I often turn to Trollope for what I expect will be an excellent reading experience. I was not disappointed with Ralph the Heir. Although Ralph the Heir is not among Trollope’s finest novels such as Phineas Finn, The Last Chronicle of Barset, and The Way We Live Now, it still represents some of the best writing of the master.
The plot is typical Trollope. Ralph the heir, the hero of our story, has borrowed freely and now can’t repay the loans. He is forced to take desperate measures and considers selling his inheritance back to an uncle who hates him. Thus begins the novel and it takes much of three hundred pages before we come to a resolution to Ralph’s problem.
Trollope seldom gives us one problem to resolve in a novel, and so it is with Ralph the Heir. The second story concerns Ralph’s guardian, Sir Thomas Underwood, who has decided to run for Parliament. This is familiar territory for Trollope, who himself ran for a seat in Parliament and lost. Sir Thomas runs for a seat from the corrupt borough of Perrycross. His difficulties in Perrycross closely follows Trollope’s own experience in his campaign in the borough of Beverley. Trollope knows what he is talking about and unfortunately for me, takes too much time describing Sir Thomas’s electioneering in Perrycross.
It is, after all, Ralph the heir whose story Trollope is telling, and this story is complicated. Ralph’s uncle, the squire of Newton Priory, has an illegitimate son, also called Ralph, and the uncle wants his own son to inherit his property. The two Ralph’s are a study in contrast. The heir is frivolous, foolish, sometimes dishonest, and careless, both in his relationships with others and his limited financial resources, which he has squandered. The illegitimate Ralph is honest, good, and true, the stuff heroes are made of. We must arrive at the last few pages of the novel before we finally learn what happens to both Ralphs.
Anthony Trollope is a great novelist and even when he is not at the top of his form, as in Ralph the Heir, he is so accomplished a story teller that we can find much to like in his work. And so it is in Ralph the Heir. We care about what happens to both Ralphs as they attempt to resolve their problems; we care much less about Sir Thomas and his difficulties attempting to get elected to Parliament.
Trollope succeeds in drawing us in to the world of the two Ralphs and it sometimes feels like we are actually present in some scenes where the two young men get in and out of trouble. Trollope talks to us directly about their situations. Even though Trollope disapproves of much of the behavior of Ralph the heir, he still treats him compassionately and we readers do the same. Ralph the heir is not all bad; in fact, he is much like many people who stumble through their lives, making bad decisions and paying the consequences, but then getting up and trying again – perhaps only to fail again.
At the end of an evening reading Trollope we often find ourselves thinking about what we might do if we took the place of one or more of the characters in the story. Unlike modern novels which are often instantly forgettable, we don’t soon forget what happens in Trollope’s novels because we enter them, live them, and become a part of them. So it is with Ralph the Heir, not Trollope at his finest, but still a novel that those readers who love the work of the master will want to read.
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 1230207554
- 条形码: 9781230207551
- 商品尺寸: 18.9 x 1 x 24.6 cm
- 商品重量: 354 g
- ASIN: 1230207554
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