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Phineas Finn by Anthony Trollope

Phineas Finn - Anthony Trollope, John Sutherland

I've been at this one for a month and only gotten 225 pages into it, out of 712. Enough. There are too many books in the world for this.


This isn't a horrendous book, but I see little to explain why it's survived from the mid-19th century. The characters are not particularly engaging, nor the prose impressive, nor is there any particular insight into human psychology or behavior. It might be ideal for someone studying 19th century British politics, but this meandering trek through the life of an Irish politician is far from gripping, as it seemingly chronicles everything its hero does. A tough modern editor would probably cut half of it, and the book would be better for it.


Also, those publishers who make money off repackaging classics in the public domain? Wow - I am not impressed. The first edition I tried, the Everyman, had a bucketload of typos all within the first few chapters - really? You get the text for free, don't have to pay royalties, don't even have to edit it, and yet you can't be bothered to do a strong copyedit before rushing off to make money on it? That's not to mention the spoiler-laden endnotes that plague most of the editions, including the Everyman. Who in the hell would add an endnote, when a political issue is referenced in the first chapter, saying "at the end of this novel, this issue causes Phineas to [major decision redacted in case some of you still want to read this]"? Do you think just because this is an old book, we all somehow know the ending through cultural osmosis? Because people just talk about Phineas Finn all the time, amirite? Sometimes I think classics publishers actually hate reading.


Also, most of the editions restart the page numbering halfway through, because it was apparently first published in two volumes. Morons.