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From Wikipedia, "The novel is set in the fictitious Midlands town of Middlemarch during 1829–32, and follows several distinct, intersecting stories with a large cast of characters. Issues include the status of women, the nature of marriage, idealism, self-interest, religion, hypocrisy, political reform, and education. Despite comic elements, Middlemarch is a work of realism encompassing historical events: the 1832 Reform Act, the beginnings of the railways, and the death of King George IV and succession of his brother, the Duke of Clarence (King William IV). It incorporates contemporary medicine and examines the reactionary views of a settled community facing unwelcome change. Eliot began writing the two pieces that would form Middlemarch in the years 1869–70 and completed the novel in 1871. Although initial reviews were mixed, it is now seen widely as her best work and one of the great novels in English."
"First published in 1862, Ivan Turgenev’s “Fathers and Sons” is widely considered to be the author’s greatest literary achievement. It is a novel about the clash of ideologies of two generations. The older generation, the fathers, represents an upper class whose power and influence is fading and giving way to the younger generation, the sons, who represent an increasing objection to the status quo. This conflict is embodied in the characters of Arkady Nikolaevich Kirsanov and Yevgeny Vasilevich Bazarov, two friends who have meet as students at St. Petersburg University. Arkady has recently graduated and has returned home to his father’s small estate in an outlying province of Russia bringing his friend Yevgeny with him. What follows is uneasiness amongst the family when Arkady and Yevgeny’s nihilistic views begin to emerge and are shown in conflict with the older generations more traditional views. “Fathers and Sons” is a brilliant work that captures the tension that existed among generations and class in the years leading up to the revolution in Russia."
"At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’ s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence."