The Watcher Cat

The Watcher Cat

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Another Review for Phineas at Bay

Novelist Tyler R. Tichelaar, has posted a review of Phineas at Bay, in which hewrites:
"Phineas at Bay" is an intriguing sequel to Trollope's Phineas novels and indeed to the entire Trollopian world.

The Phineas novels are not among my favorites by Trollope, but Wirenius introduces so many of Trollope's characters from not only the Palliser novels but also the Barchester series, The Way We Live Now, Orley Farm, etc. that it's a treat just to try to pick them all out and try to remember which ones are Trollope's, separating them from the few new ones Wirenius invents. Major characters include Plantagenet Palliser, Madame Max, Lizzie Eustace, Lady Laura, and Samuel Grantly, among many others.

I also found Phineas more likeable and appealing in this book than previously. He seems more focused in his legal and political efforts and a bit more mature. The novel is set in the 1890s and many historical and literary references are made that are fun to pick out as well.

I did feel the characters needed more development in terms of their internal worlds - I never felt the absolute misery that Trollope can sometimes show us in his characters' heads, but I was delighted by many of the characters and the plot twists. Best of all, I loved the ending. I think it is exactly how Trollope would have left Phineas had he written one more novel about him.

If you love Trollope and enjoy sequels to the classics--this is one of the best--you'll enjoy this book. If only Trollope had written it or a few zombies or vampires had been thrown in, I'd give it 5 instead of 4 stars.
Well, I am not, alas, Trollope, and the zombies are reserved for the sequel--but in all seriousness, having a professional's praise is very meaningful. Tyler participated in the discussion of Phineas at Bay on the Trollope and his Contemporaries reading group, and one of the great pleasures of the group is getting to know him and my fellow Trollopeans by discussing novels of "the long 19th Century" together.

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