02 April 2014

Fardorougha and I

So I was supposed to have Fardorougha the Miser by William Carlton read and reviewed by today for The Classics Club, but, alas, I have miserably failed in this endeavor. I am, embarrassingly, only on page 37 of 228. Yep, that's really, really shame worthy.

What I have read, I have enjoyed. The language is beautiful, the characters unique, and the possibilities intriguing. Unfortunately, my lazy brain is sucking down large doses of easy reading in the small moments of time I have to read instead of savoring a few bites of this more difficult read.

A bit of background: I first read Fardorougha while an undergrad in 19th century Irish Literature, a class I absolutely adored. We read 10 books in nine weeks, meeting once a week for three hours, so I remember all sorts of awesome feelings, but I sure don't remember much about characters, plot lines, themes, or really anything specific to the books we read outside of a general impression. Definitely need to re-read those works for a better understanding.

Now to the story: As the title suggests, our main character, Fardorougha, is a miser; in other words, he has a pathological obsession with money. The portion of the book I read suggests that when a husband and wife have no children, money becomes a sort of surrogate for their attention: "for, in truth, the affections must be fixed upon something, and we generally find that where children are denied, the world comes in and hardens by its influence the best and tenderest sympathies of humanity". Fardorougha and the missus go twelve years without a child, and then TA-DA, here comes baby.

The birth of a son does not at once turn Fardorougha's heart from miserly interest to fatherly love. He struggles with his feelings something fierce, varying from an avaricious aversion to a being who will cost him money to fatherly affection to, finally, a sort of self-satisfying view of his son where "every act of parsimony on his part was merely one of prudence, and had the love of a father and an affectionate consideration for his child's future welfare to justify it." In other words, he was able to "love his wealth through the medium of his son." This struggle, along with the birth (but seriously, mainly this struggle), occupy the first two chapters of the book at the end of which Connor (the son) is a young man of 22.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to an anecdote which stresses that Fardorougha is a strict money lender, still obsessively concerned with his own wealth, and that Connor and his mother hate Fardorougha's miserliness and lack of humanity towards those he lends money to. Chapter 4 - where I am currently stuck - has Connor getting a bit sickly-sweet on a girl who returns his favor. Obviously these two chapters are setting up Connor as a super nice guy while the first two chapters focused on Fardorougha as a wee bit villainous. I can only assume that this difference between father and son will help create the central conflict of the story.

The next time I get any sort of time alone, I plan on devouring as much of this story as I can. I just can't read a book like this in 4-6 minute chunks of time interspersed with meeting Madison's wants and needs (her current favorite thing to say is "Mommy I need you" which she can say over 50 times a minute if she's on a roll).

Has anyone else read this? A quick Google search suggests that this book is practically non-existent in the virtual world; although Project Gutenberg has it if you are interested.


  1. I have never heard of this author or book before, so that's a good start! It's one of the reasons I love the Classics Club, though, I keep finding books for my TBR pile :-)

    I smiled at the notion of money being a surrogate for having no children. It made me think of many of the couples in the area I live in, who have dogs as a child surrogate...with all the inherent custody issues, when the couple breaks up!

    Good luck with getting some time alone to read - not easy to manage in family life :-)

  2. I have not read it and didn't know much about it, to be honest. I would love to participate with the Classics Club but I tend not to be able to keep up with them myself! lol I do need to read more classics, as that has fallen by the wayside the past year or so. Now that I am a blogger for Project Gutenburg Project that will be changing, luckily! I will see if anyone has tackled this one on the blog yet and, if not, if I can tackle it myself!

    Don't feel bad about desiring easier to digest reads right now. A lot of us go through spurts, I think, where sometimes we crave weightier reads and sometimes we crave lots of lighter fare.


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