27 Feb 2010 – Methodist Book Sale

I spotted this Virago at the Methodist book sale (we’re going to have a few from there over the next month!) and realised it was an Eliot I’d heard nothing about.  A minor work, and short even for a novella, this was apparently seen as embarrassing by Eliot’s publisher during her lifetime and eventually published only as an extra in an omnibus with two other books.

I can see why. This is a very, very odd book.  It’s full of the supernatural and becomes more and more uneasy-feeling until the truly horrific ending.  OK, I am a bit pathetic when it comes to horror, but mucking around with corpses…!  You can see flashes of the Eliot we’re familiar with in the precise descriptions and family dynamics, but this tale of a psychic, over-sensitive man, who can read the thoughts of those around him and has visions of the future, left me cold (and goose-bumpy!).  The afterword was well done and did explain the background, but still…

One for the collector of Viragos or a George Eliot afficionado only, I think.