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Phineas Redux by Anthony Trollope

Phineas Redux

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Palliser Novels (4)

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9661713,642 (4.05)2 / 126



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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I really didn’t mean to read Phineas Redux quite yet, I intended to give some other classic authors some time, after spending so much time with Trollope this year, but my fondness for Phineas and my curiosity to know what was happening in an a world full of so many characters I have come to love …..

I just had to know!

The story begins a few years after ‘Phineas Finn’ and a few months after ‘The Eustace Diamonds’. I’ve seen suggestions that you could read the two Phineas novels back to back, but if you did that there are things that you might not appreciate in this book, because it picks up a few threads and a few characters from ‘The Eustace Diamonds’.

Phineas Finn is living in Dublin, alone, since his wife has died, and though he has a good job and a healthy income he is bored. He misses parliament, he misses his London life, and so, when he sees a chance to return, he decides to risk everything , hoping that he will be able to pick up the threads of his old life.

He’s still the same Phineas, as charming, as straightforward as ever, but time and experience has made his just a little jaded.

He finds that some things have changed and some things are still the same.

Madam Max had turned down a proposal from the Duke of Omnium; she had hoped to win Phineas, not knowing that he had already decided that his future lay with Mary Flood-Jones. She remained a good friend to the Duke, whose health was failing, and whose death would bring her a bequest that she was not prepared to accept. And she proved to be the best of friends to Phineas.

That death meant that Plantagenet Palliser was the new Duke of Omnium. Lady Glencora was in her element; I love that was so passionate about her causes, and her friendship with Madame Max is a delight. Her husband, on the other hand, was concerned that he would be ineligible to be chancellor of the exchequer again, and that he may not be able to see his work to reform the currency through to the end.

Lord Chilton and Violet Effingham had married and were happily settled. They had house-guests, and that set off a subplot – a love triangle that had echoes of one from an earlier book and yet was quite different. Trollope does see to have lots of variants on the love triangle, and I have to say that he does them very well. It was a little strange, moving from characters I knew so well to brand new characters, but I understood why they were there. One of the reasons was to keep the Chilterns in the story – as he still refused to have anything to do with politics – I loved that Lord Chiltern had grown from an angry young man into a comfortable curmudgeon, that Violet had found her niche as a wife and mother, and that the two of the understood each other so well.

Lady Laura Kennedy had fled to the continent, to escape her cold, unsympathetic husband. Her situation was dreadful, because, if she returned to England her husband could compel her return to him, as she had no grounds for divorce. The shift in her relationship with Phineas was interesting – in the first book he wanted more of her than she would give, and in this book that reversed. The arc of her story was inevitable and it was heart-breaking;

Of course Phineas became part of all of their lives again, and he regained his seat in parliament.

But it wasn’t all plain sailing. Robert Kennedy objected to Phineas visiting his wife, and it became horrible clear that he was beginning to lose his reason. And Mr Bonteen, his greatest political foe, and maybe the next chancellor of the exchequer, is determined that Phineas will be kept from high office.

The consequence of all of this is that Phineas must fight, first against a terrible slander, and then against a charge of murder.

There’s a great deal going on, and inevitably there are highs and lows. There’s quite a bit of politics to wade through at the beginning of the book, there are quiet spells between that great dramas, and it has to be said that Trollope is not a great crime writer.

But the two great dramas, and the human dramas that spin around them, are wonderful.

It works so well because – I think – Trollope was what my mother would call a people person.

He understood his characters, how their relationships worked, how life and events would change them.

He understood how their world worked; he may or may not of liked that, but he presented it, clear-sightedly, as it was.

He cared and he made me care; it’s as simple as that. ( )
  BeyondEdenRock | Oct 29, 2018 |
I didn't like Phineas Finn years ago; I don't like the redux now. Two bummers in dozen I've read of Trollope is not bad. Immediately started the next in the Palliser series, The Prime Minister, and love it. ( )
  ReadMeAnother | Aug 10, 2018 |
As the title rather implies, this fourth part of the Palliser saga brings back the main characters from Phineas Finn, slightly older and rearranged, but in a plot that fels disconcertingly like a re-run of that first book. Phineas is back from Ireland to have another go at establishing himself in English politics; as soon as he arrives he finds himself back in touch with the three ladies who were the drivers of the plot before - Violet (now happily married to a foxhunting peer), Laura (still estranged from her gloomy Scottish husband) and Madame Max (busy consoling the old Duke of Omnium in his declining years). And Lady Glencora, as we would expect, is discreetly pulling the strings.

Politics also seems to have gone round in circles. The Great Reform that was fought over so bitterly hasn't made elections very much fairer yet, and the hypocrisy of parliament is unchanged - in a blatant move to split the opposition, a minority Tory Prime Minister is promoting a measure that he and his party have always opposed, and which none of them believe in (plus ca change!). When a cabinet minister is brutally murdered, the police arrest an Irishman and an immigrant from Eastern Europe...

There's always something very comforting in pulling on a big, thick Victorian novel on a winter's day, and Trollope is about as warm and wooly as they come. But that's not to say that the world he writes about is idealised and comforting - he is quite happy to show us corruption, fraud, hypocrisy (religious and political), mental illness, inequality, greed and all the rest. Parliament, the Church and the Law are all fully open to be mocked and criticised for their weaknesses. Unlike most British writers of the time, he also has no hesitation about breaking the convention that marriages in fiction have to be happy, and he's not completely convinced that there's any sound basis for setting up society in such a way that men run things and women are there only to help and support them.

A detail - only one among many - that really struck me was the way Trollope lets Phineas suffer a kind of emotional collapse after what should (by normal narrative standards) have been his big moment of triumph - as soon as the intense stress he's been under is taken away, he goes into a period of depression in which he doesn't want to talk to anybody, to be seen in public, or make any kind of plans for his future. When you read it, you feel that this is the only possible way someone like Phineas could possibly have reacted, but you have to wonder whether any other novelist of the time would have allowed a male character to show that kind of weakness. ( )
1 vote thorold | Jan 3, 2018 |
Again, I have not yet read this. I bought it used in London to get a more portable copy. ( )
  antiquary | Apr 10, 2017 |
When we last met Phineas Finn in his eponymous novel, he was a young rookie Member of Parliament, somewhat idealistic and impetuous both at work and with the ladies. Phineas Redux opens a few years later, and our hero has mellowed after dealing with a few hardships. He assumes a new seat in Parliament and becomes involved in the issues of the day, most notably Disestablishmentarianism, the campaign to separate church and state. His personal life is still somewhat tumultuous, as he accepts the affections of two ladies simultaneously: his lifelong friend Lady Laura Kennedy, and the more exotic Madame Max Goesler. It’s fairly typical stuff for the Palliser novels, but then Phineas becomes a suspect in the murder of a prominent government figure, and Trollope turns his hand towards writing a 19th century crime novel.

Alongside the main storyline are those of characters we’ve met in previous novels including Plantagenet Palliser, his wife Lady Glencora, and Lord and Lady Chiltern. And Adelaide Palliser, a distant cousin, weighs her marriage options.

Because it’s Trollope, everything works out for the best but not without some sadness along the way. The crime and courtroom drama was well done, albeit in a characteristic style that left no doubt about “whodunnit”. Trollope’s depiction of post-trial Phineas was realistic and touching. I really enjoyed this installment in the Palliser series and look forward to reading the next book soon. ( )
2 vote lauralkeet | Oct 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anthony Trollopeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bowen, JohnEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Haydon, Benjamin RobertCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hecimovich, Gregg A.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hecimovich, Gregg A.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holl, FrankIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huskinson, T. L. B.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trollope, JoannaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The circumstances of the general election of 18-, will be well remembered by all those who take an interest in the political matters of the country.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019281589X, Paperback)

'since the day on which he had accepted place and retired from London, his very soul had sighed for the lost glories of Westminster and Douning Street'

After the death of his Irish wife, Phineas Finn returns to London and to the House of Commons. But though drawn back apparently irresistibly, he never approaches politics with the zest of earlier days. What Trollope describes, in some of his most powerful writing, is a sad, at times almost sombre, progress towards maturity and self-wisdom.

Although Phineas survives an attempt on his life by the half-crazed and jealous Robert Kennedy, his involvement in this ugly scandal irreversibly damages his reputation. Not even the influential Duchess of Omnium can conjure an appointment for him. His trial for the murder of the hated Mr. Bonteen provides the final disenchantment and, through choice, he never again enters the charmed inner circle of power.

"Phineas Redux" (1874) is the fourth of the six Palliser novels, pubished between 1864 and 1880. As a group they provide us with the most extensive and telling expose' of British life during the period of its greatest prestige.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:59 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

The ever-ambitious Irish rogue Phineas Finn is pulled back into the game of Parliamentary politics in this classic novel from Anthony Trollope. After his beloved wife dies in childbirth, a bored and restless Phineas Finn is compelled to seek out the never-ending war of will and words within the English Parliament. Still considered a promising prospect of the younger generation, he is welcomed back into the fold. Upon his return to London, Phineas renews his friendship with the wealthy widow Madame Max Goesler, whose offer of marriage he had once turned down. But he soon finds an enemy in Mr. Bonteen, who distrusts Phineas's loyalty to the party, and the two become harsh rivals. And when Bonteen is murdered, Phineas finds both his political fortunes and his very life in the balance. With his trademark humor and humanity, Anthony Trollope takes readers on another adventure full of heart and hope. As with the captivating Phineas Finn, Phineas Redux will have you rooting for this irrepressible protagonist all over again. Phineas Redux is the 4th book in the Palliser Novels, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order. This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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