“The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.” – Anthony Trollope
Trollope writes The Warden with such clarity of thought and imagination that he makes the most complex issues and characters seem simple and unassuming. Since I learned about Trollope as a writer around the same time I read The Warden, it is hard for me to separate what I know of the man from his work. Whenever he took it upon himself to write a book, he kept a separate journal to keep track of his word count each day. That way, if he skipped a day, he would have that zero mark to goad him into working more. He also honed his imagination as a child by setting the perimeters of a situation or world for himself and then playing out the scene or story. This combination of extreme talent and work ethic is absolutely embedded in The Warden; it is almost a relief to read after a more modern, purely inspired, work, as every single sentence is perfectly balanced and crafted, and yet the overarching plot and characters are surprising, moving and intricate.
Reminds me… of Jane Austen in that each of their works are so symmetrical, and their carefully laid out sentences simply roll off the tongue. Each of their voices, although distinct from each other, have a certain consistent, and extremely pleasing, rhythm to them.
Beverage: Always a sucker for what the characters are drinking, I would say a strong English Breakfast and cream would do well here, served with a traditional British tea service if at all possible. I think that the Warden also shares some port with his wards, if you’re more inclined to that.