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Page name: North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell review [Logged in view] [RSS]
2013-01-26 20:40:17
Last author: Linderel
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North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell


North and South is not so much about the differences between those two regions of England, although this topic is often and extensively touched upon in the novel; nay, it is more about the people and how their lives come to intertwine. The vicar of Helstone, Mr Hale, suffers a crisis of conscience and leaves the Church, removing himself and his family — wife and adult daughter — far away to the North. The industrial town of Milton, to be exact. There, lowered in station and lonely as they are, they must make their lives. The daughter, Margaret, is the principal character of the novel and quite one of my favourite heroines now. Her counterpart Mr Thornton, one of the millowners in their new hometown, is quite compelling enough as well. Higgins, a workman Margaret befriends, gets more sympathetic each time he appears on page. I would like to read about what happens after the novel ends — but I suppose that's what fanfiction is for. And one's own imagination.

A technical characteristic of the narrative I particularly came to like, after getting used to it, was Gaskell's attempt to convey the sound of the workpeople's speech. Then again I'm a sucker for that sort of thing.

I came to this book having seen the 2004 BBC mini-series — and that twice — so I knew more or less what to expect. My penchant for stories of this type and the predisposition to like this particular one based on the adaptation have surely made my opinion biased. I care not. I am now even more in love with the narrative than I was previously. This subjectivity knocks the rating from four stars to five. And yes, I like the novel more than I do the series, although this does not detract from my fondness towards the latter. I would recommend both to friends of period lit and drama.



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