Silas Marner is a classic tale of redemption and questions in many ways what true family is. The novel also deals with the conflict between religion and love something that interests me very much even as a Christian. On the whole while I found it slightly dated and in places overly simple I also admired the overall narrative and the simple yet well woven prose.
Silas Marner is a man spurned by all. The tale opens with an account of his past history in which he as a young and devout Christian he is betrayed by his fellow friend and fiancée. Such tragedy of course has embittered Silas and he becomes a lover of money and a miser. Later on in the story however he is given an obvious chance of redemption. A redemption which perhaps in the author's eyes turn Silas Marner back toward the path of righteousness.
It is interesting to note that Mary Ann Evans, better known as George Elliot, was raised in a Christian family before apparently turning toward atheism. It is interesting to mark the similarities between that aspect of her life and the tale of Silas Marner, the weaver of Ravenloe. Did her past inspire her future narrative? After all we are constantly created stories about our world, our lives all the time and most brilliant authors have the talent to weave those stories into another tale. Take J.R.R Tolkien writing about his distaste of war in one of the great fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings.
On the whole though this is a brilliant tale about one man rising above his tragedy for the good of himself and for others. I can see why it features on the classics shelf and is well worth a read. Don't go into this thinking it will be the greatest novel ever. It is clearly no Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice yet its sparse if not devoid prose is well constructed enough to paint a haunting portrayal of the hopelessness of one individual and the beauty of his return to grace.