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If you are a good reader, I would recommend Eliot’s Middlemarch. It is arguably Eliot’s most accomplished novel. In the late 90’s, it was #1 on the U.K.’s list of “100 most important novels” list. Additionally, Virginia Woolf felt it was, “One of the few English novels written for grown-up people.” Although her diction may be hard to wade through at times, Middlemarch addresses issues which were controversial at the time it was written. Eliot’s choice to use a Jewish hero as the protagonist was harshly criticized as “unrealistic and offensive.” Yet, the novel highlights British intolerance and eventually launched her career as an important literary figure of her age.
If, however, you are not a motivated reader, it may be difficult to keep track of the many twisting storylines. Another popular novel, and one of my personal favorites, is Silas Marner. The book is set in English countryside and deals with religious and ethical quandaries. Eliot implies that the church is only useful in that it keeps people somewhat satisfied with the idea of a God who is good. In the end, Eliot’s portrayal of the church corresponds to Karl Marx’s criticism that “religion is the opiate of the masses.” It will take a while before you will become engaged with the plot but this book is a more accessible read.
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