Review | Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

#QOTD – What are you guys reading these days?

I recently finished Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. It is less like a novel and more like a collection of some plotless vignetters. In the beginning, it comes across as a collection of short stories, but then you see a connection between the chapters so as to become one continuous whole.

The book revolves around a small fictional town in the north of England, Cranford, of which the landscape, the setting and even the characters are taken from the little town where the author spent her childhood, Knutsford. Parts of Cranford are wonderfully funny, but it also has a moving dream-like mood, that summarizes the spirit of a by-gone era. Cranford is the central character, and everything else revolve this setting.

The story is set in the mid 1800s on the lives of the elderly women. As a reader, I got to sit beside them as they gossiped and nattered their way through the day. I learnt their customs and social values and saw how desperate they were to hold on to them in the face of a changing world. It is basically a satire on fading Victorian customs and values to which the elder generation has so clung to, as a religion. 

This book would have been a perfect addition to course syllabus! The town struggles with the transition from an agricultural to a more industrialized economy. The plot also talks about fading Victorian customs and values to which the elder generation has so clung to, as a religion. So it has all the academic qualities one needs!

Now I know all of this does not very interesting; it sounds all very dull indeed! And if it wasn’t for the wonderful satirical writing of Elizabeth Gaskell it might have been!

She turned it into a delightful, pleasant and a very English read! Full of charm, humor, and heart.


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