Silas Marner: The Weaver of Raveloe, by George Eliot, was first published in 1861.
“George Eliot” was the pen name of Mary Anne Evans.
The first sentence is: “In the days when the spinning-wheels hummed busily in the farmhouses – and even the great ladies, clothed in silk and thread-lace, had their toy spinning-wheels of polished oak – there might be seen, in districts far away among the lanes, or deep in the bosom of the hills, certain pallid undersized men, who, by the side of the brawny country-folk, looked like the remnants of a disinherited race.”
Silas Marner is a linen-weaver who lives and works in a stone cottage in the village of Raveloe. He keeps to himself. As the story opens, Silas Marner has been in Raveloe for fifteen years, and many rumors have circulated about this man who rarely speaks to anyone.
Before he came to Raveloe, Silas Marner led a different life. He was well respected among his many friends. He led an exemplary life within his church in Lantern Yard.
Silas Marner formed a close friendship with William Dane, a fellow church member. He became engaged to a woman named Sarah. Life was good to Silas Marner in Lantern Yard.
Then Silas Marner stood before the church congregation, accused of stealing the church’s funds. The evidence was strong against him. Silas Marner pleaded innocent, but was found guilty by the drawing of lots. Although he could not prove it, he knew it was his friend, William Dane, who stole the funds.
A month later, Sarah married William Dane. Silas Marner lost his faith in both Man and God, and he left Lantern Yard.
That was Chapter I. There are still twenty chapters, and many changes to Silas Marner’s life, to go.
Silas Marner lives a miser’s life. He makes good money from his weaving, but he allows himself few indulgences. The rest of his fortune is kept hidden under the floor of his cottage. Then, one night, while he is out tending his yard, his bags of guineas are stolen by the son of Squire Cass, the richest man in Raveloe.
Silas Marner doesn’t know who stole his money, of course, and accuses the wrong man. When his accusation is proven false, Silas Marner apologizes for his error, and gains considerable respect among the villagers. The citizens of Raveloe join in to help find Silas Marner’s stolen money.
As much as the people of Raveloe admire Squire Cass for his accumulation of wealth, they now admire Silas Marner even more for his loss of wealth. People begin visiting Silas Marner, and he begins opening up to the community.
Silas Marner’s life changes yet again when he decides to raise an orphaned girl who suddenly appears in his cottage. The child’s mother is found dead, and her father is unknown to all but one person. Silas Marner considers this child a heavenly gift in exchange for the money he lost.
With the help of his neighbor, Molly Winthrop, Silas Marner learns how to raise a child. Because the girl needs to be christened, Silas Marner returns to church – a different kind of church from the one he knew in Lantern Yard.
Silas Marner gives the girl the biblical name Hephizibah. When Molly Winthrop advises Silas Marner that people will have trouble pronouncing that name, he nicknames his adopted daughter Eppie. Molly Winthrop becomes Eppie’s godmother.
That was Part I.
Part II picks up sixteen years later, with Eppie having grown into a lovely young woman who is catching the eye of Aaron Winthrop (Molly Winthrop’s son). Silas Marner and Eppie are seen at church every Sunday.
This lengthy synopsis I’ve written could have been a lot longer. Silas Marner is an intricate novel, full of rich details of the lives of both the rich and poor citizens of Raveloe. There are many plots and sub-plots. I’ve covered about a quarter of the story here.
Despite the antiquated language and massive sentences, I found Silas Marner an easy read.
As I read Silas Marner, I had no idea where the story was heading. For that reason, I found it an exciting book to read.
This is a wonderful, enjoyable book. I loved it.
Why I chose this book:
When I saw this category, I immediately thought of George Eliot. I’d never read anything by George Eliot before now, and the 2018 Reading Challenge was my nudge to finally get out of my comfort zone and read an Eliot work. Silas Marner seemed like an interesting character, and the novel seemed more intimate than other works involving a community of characters, such as Middlemarch. (I was judging by the descriptions I’d found on Wikipedia.) Of course, I eventually discovered that Silas Marner was also a story involving a community of characters.
Today was a day of gaming in Everett. Kelly has decided that the game isn’t her thing, so her satyr has become an NPC. We were joined today by Lynn, who wanted to merely observe, but seemed interesting in joining, sometime in the future.
I’m not sure I fully grasp this game, but I’m having fun playing along. We have a great group of gamers.
These days, it seems like a post on this blog wouldn’t be complete without a snow report.
During our game, it started raining heavily, with snow mixed in. Google reported that it was 45 degrees outside. The snow wasn’t sticking to anything except deck furniture and some grass. Joe and Laurie’s ducks and chickens obviously weren’t enjoying it.
On our drive home, it started snowing, and sticking to our car’s windows, at Lynnwood. Farther south, the freeway started turning white. We exited at 175th Street, waving to our second library as we passed, and took surface streets the rest of the way home.
Starting in Maple Leaf, the snow started coming down hard. It was sticking, but not piling up.
Driving down Roosevelt Way NE, a pickup truck ahead of us tried to turn right onto NE Campus Parkway, but couldn’t stop, so it kept going across the University Bridge. The roads were getting slick. Phillip and I arrived at the same idea simultaneously: That it would be easier to go up Capitol Hill via 10th Avenue, rather than our usual route, the much steeper Belmont Avenue.
10th Avenue was slick, but the snow turned to rain, and the streets lost their slickness, right when 10th Avenue leveled off and merged into Broadway.
As we drove along Broadway, the snow on our roof and windshield began melting and chunks of snow slid down the windshield.
It was a fun day, and we made it home safely.
My parents have been in an assisted living facility in Bothell for several years. Today, my family moved them to a facility in Kenmore with a higher level of assisted living.
As Phillip and I drove off of Capitol Hill, the snow was falling so heavily that it created near-whiteout conditions. It wasn’t sticking to anything, however. The car’s thermometer said it was 41 degrees outside. Still, we worried that we may have to turn back home if it got colder as we made our way north.
The snow turned to rain even before we reached Montlake, and we didn’t see snow for the rest of the day.
We kept our parents in the building lobby as packed and moved their belongings. My father was in no shape, physically, to help out. My mother was confused and anxious, obviously not understanding what was going on. It was best to keep them both out of the way.
My ex-brother-in-law and one of my nephews had vans, and my brother-in-law had a full-sized pickup truck. So Phillip and I were assigned, along with my niece and future-nephew, to packing and sorting, while others did the moving.
We left my parents in Bothell as the packers met up in Kenmore and, once the movers arrived, became the unpackers.
It was a strange experience to set up someone else’s apartment, without them there, deciding where they’d like their desk placed, where they’d like their pictures hung, how they’d like their kitchen cabinets arranged, and so on.
We all started work in Bothell around 9:00, and finished in Kenmore around 4:00, shortly before my parents were brought over. We gave my father a tour, showed him where everything was, and were able answer all his questions regarding where we’d put medications, and papers, his laptop, and so on. My mother still seemed confused, but a lot less anxious. Even though she may not have understood why she was there, I think she was pleased with the new apartment.
I think we were all pleased with the new facility. Everyone we met was friendly, and seemed happy. A neighbor from down the hall stopped by to say hello and chat (before my parents arrived). A woman from administration stopped by to welcome my parents.
At the end of the day, Phillip and I, and my sister and her husband, and my niece and my future-nephew, were the only ones left to say goodbye to my parents. As we walked down the hall together, my sister commented that she felt like she was leaving her kids at kindergarten for the first time. It seemed that we were all feeling that way.
Phillip and I, and my sister and her husband, and my niece and my future-nephew, went to dinner together, at Beardslee Public House, in Bothell.
It’s been an unusual, rewarding, exhausting, and fun day.
It started snowing on Capitol Hill last night. It wasn’t enough to cover much more than the grass, the tops of trees, and the tops of parked cars. Neither one of us seemed motivated to go outside and play in the snow. I don’t know if it was the measly amount of snow, or a feeling that the season was over, or what.
We woke up this morning to the same amount of snow. There wasn’t any more accumulation, nor had much melted away.
My office tends to close down in “inclement weather”. The same goes for Phillip’s office. I couldn’t imagine the amount of snow on Capitol Hill could close either office down, but Seattle is known for its microclimates. It could be snowing there, but not snowing here.
I went to the SDOT traffic web site – the “SDOT Travelers Home Page”, they call it. Traffic cameras showed bare streets in both Downtown and the U District. (Isn’t the internet wonderful?) Our offices would be open.
A coworker sent me a text message, asking if I’d heard whether our office would be open. Apparently, they had an inch or two of snow, south of Seattle. I sent them a screen shot of a traffic camera a few blocks from our office. Our office would be open, and we’d both be coming in on light rail. Neither one of us would be getting a snow day today.
Phillip left for work, heading up the hill to catch the 49. I left a few minutes later.
I didn’t trust the 47 to show up. (I can’t shake the feeling that Metro is still trying to kill that route, and will use any excuse to disrupt it.) So I walked up the hill, taking the less steep hills since sidewalks had patches of ice here and there, to Capitol Hill Station, and rode light rail to Downtown.
The streets were oddly empty when I left work this evening. I kept looking at my watch, checking to see if I was actually leaving work at the right time. I guessed that a lot of people had taken a snow day today.
I caught a 70 bus up 3rd Avenue, to the stop at 4th & Pike. OneBusAway told me a 47 was due in 2 minutes.
A trolley bus turned the corner from 3rd, into the bus stop. Its sign read “To Terminal”. The only time I see buses turn from 3rd like that, they turn out to be a 43. Except those 43 buses are always diesels.
The driver of that mystery bus sat at the stop, behind a 10, with the doors open. He was studying the schedule card intently.
Then he changed the bus signs to read: “47 To Summit”.
Obviously, that driver had come directly from the bus station as a last-minute addition to the 47 route. So, maybe, Metro cares about the 47 after all.
The weather forecasts called for snow in Seattle today. This morning, friends in the Everett area posted pictures of snow-covered yards. Every time I’d look out the window of our Capitol Hill apartment, I saw bare streets, sidewalks and trees.
We bought tickets to see Black Panther at the Regal Meridian 16, Downtown. We decided on the 2:15 showing, in 3D. At 9:00, the showing was sold out, except for the entire front row, exactly half of the second row, and one lone seat toward the back. We reserved two seats in the second row. The internet is wonderful.
We stepped out of our apartment this afternoon, and were greeted by a blizzard. Well, it was a blizzard in the sense that strong winds were blowing the snow sideways. And, it wasn’t a blizzard, since the snow wasn’t sticking to anything.
Around here, weather forecasts are usually correct.
We caught a 47 bus. When we reached Downtown, the snow had stopped, but it was bitterly cold.
Black Panther was amazing, thrilling, and wonderful.
After the movie, we browsed around All Saints (where we were sad to discover that they’d closed off their bottom floor) and Westlake Mall (where we were sad to discover that the entire top floor, where the food court used to be, is now a Saks 5th Avenue outlet store). Then we walked toward Veggie Grill for dinner.
I miss the Westlake Mall food court.
Before we got to Veggie Grill, we spotted a place named Yard House. We decided to give it a try.
Yard House was delicious and fun (150 beers on tap!), but a bit expensive for regular visits. It could be a nice treat every once in a while.
Yard House was less than a half-block from the bus stop at 4th & Pike. We’d just missed a 10 and a 49, but a 47 arrived in a couple of minutes. I don’t think I could have survived the cold and wind much longer than that.
It was a fun day.
Solstorm, by Åsa Larsson, was published in Sweden in 2003. In 2006, it was published in the USA, translated by Marlaine Delargy, as Sun Storm. In 2007, it was published in the UK as The Savage Altar.
The first sentence is: “When Viktor Strandgård dies it is not, in fact, for the first time.”
Rebecka Martinsson is a newly qualified tax attorney, working for Meijer & Ditinger, in Stockholm. She and her colleague Maria Taube are listening to the news on the radio. A well-known religious leader, aged thirty, had been found murdered in his church in Kiruna. The police have no suspects, and the murder weapon has not been found.
Maria notices that Rebecka seems especially upset by this news. The phone rings, and Maria answers it. The caller is from Kiruna, and is asking for Rebecka Martinsson.
Inspector Anna-Maria Mella is called in to investigate the murder of Viktor Strandgård, whose mutilated body was found in The Source of All Our Strength church.
Inspector Mella is in the final days of her pregnancy. She’s supposed to be on desk duty.
Viktor Strandgård had become a religious celebrity after he died in a hospital, following an automobile accident. When he came back to life, he told his followers that he’d been to Heaven, where he met Jesus. His miracle united the area’s churches and formed The Source of All Our Strength church.
Sanna Strandgård had been the first to find her brother’s body in her church. Now she’s hiding out, and has called her friend Rebecka for help.
Returning to Kiruna is not going to be easy for Rebecka Martinsson. There is a lot of history there which she would rather not relive.
Rebecka’s boss, Måns Wenngren, grants her a few days off to visit her friend. Then he wonders what the hell is going on when he sees a news report that Sanna Strandgård had gone to the police station to be interviewed, accompanied by her lawyer, Rebecka Martinsson.
Sun Storm constantly switches point of view and locations. There’s the domestic life in northern Sweden, where Rebecka cares for Sanna’s children, and, as a tax attorney, tries to act as a criminal lawyer. There’s the law firm in Stockholm, trying to figure out what to do about a newly qualified tax attorney who has apparently overstepped her job description. There’s Anna-Maria and her team of Kiruna police officers, running an official investigation. And there’s The Source of All Our Strength church, protecting itself from the evils of the outside world. For a while, I wondered if Rebecka Martinsson actually was the protagonist of this novel. But the story always returns to Rebecka and her journey into her past.
Sun Storm is a classic noir story. It’s a gloomy mystery, centered around a grisly murder, where everyone has something they’d like to hide. It’s a fascinating double-investigation, with Anna-Maria and Rebecka working independently, and often in opposition, trying to solve the same case from two different angles.
The murderer is revealed abruptly – a little too abruptly, I thought. The mystery is solved a little too conveniently. But I enjoyed Sun Storm, and I’d be interested in reading the next book in the Rebecka Martinsson series.
Sun Storm has a strange “About the author” section, in the back of the book, which devotes more words to plugging the book I just read than to telling me about the author: “Åsa Larsson was born in 1966 and lives in the country outside Kyköping. Sun Storm, her debut novel, is a tense thriller with considerable literary merit. Even before publication in Sweden, translation rights had been sold to several countries, including Norway, Denmark and Germany.”
Why I chose this book:
I did an internet search for “Nordic noir” and found a list of books, including The Man Who Went Up in Smoke (which I used for “A book by two authors”), and Sun Storm. I did a little research on Sun Storm, and learned that it was written by a former tax attorney from Kiruna, and that the novel is about a tax attorney from Kiruna. I chose this book for two reasons: The protagonist of this crime drama is not a detective (which sounded refreshing), and the author set a crime drama in her home town (which sounded like it could contain some local color).
A northbound Link train pulled into Pioneer Square Station this evening. Its destination sign read “Angle Lake” (which is what southbound trains display).
As I rode north, I posted a “Randomness” photo to my blog. There was a time, not too long ago, when I wouldn’t have been able to do that, for two reasons I can think of at the moment.
As we approached University Street Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”
As we approached Westlake Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”
As we approached Capitol Hill Station, the LED display, and the voice, announced: “Next stop, SeaTac/Airport Station.”
I walked to the Capitol Hill Library, where Phillip was waiting for me. Then we walked to Roosters for our Valentine’s Day dinner (my treat). I gave him his other Valentine’s Day gift: a mug from the Central Library gift shop.
We walked to QFC, where Phillip bought me a jumbo filled sandwich cookie.
Then we walked home, and Phillip gave me my other Valentine’s Day gift: a gift card to Steam. I used it to buy Lumino City, which had been on my wish list for years.