“What classic has most surprised you so far, and why?”
I had to think about this one for a while. “Surprises” come in many forms: plot, characters, writing style, enjoyment, etc. On my Classics Club list are books I enjoyed, disappointing books, and others that weren’t what I expected. But as I scrolled through the list, one stood out as the biggest surprise so far: The Warden, by Anthony Trollope. My review opens with this:
This review could be subtitled, “In which I develop a fondness for Anthony Trollope.” A couple of years ago I gave up on Barchester Towers, and while I had my reasons I never felt good about it. This time I decided to start at the beginning of Trollope’s Chronicles of Barsetshire, and I’m glad I did.
Bookish friends told me The Warden was a quiet novel, and an important introduction to Trollope’s fictional county of Barsetshire. I was helped along by a tutored read on LibraryThing, which explained the intricacies of the 19th century English church and other important context. But mostly I fell in love with Septimus Harding, the title character. He was such a dear man, and nearly done in by unjust accusations. While my love for Septimus came as a surprise, perhaps more surprising was how much I loved the entire book, and how it set me on a course to read the complete Chronicles of Barsetshire. I read Barchester Towers in December (read my review), and I’ll be reading the third novel, Doctor Thorne, next month.
I love discovering new authors, and when they are classics, so much the better!
What’s your most surprising classic read?