No Name by Wilkie Collins was my lucky number 1 for the Classics Club Spin #6.
The official finish/posting date for this Spin is the 7th July and I can happily report that I finished this book with a month to spare! (Maybe I should put this ‘spare’ time to go use & finally finish Spin #5 – The Brothers Karamazov!!)
I read No Name with Melbourne on my Mind, who has not only finished the book, but also written her review. She makes a couple of fabulous character comments which made me laugh and nod my head in agreement.
If you’d like to read the rest of her review please click on her name link above.
My edition of No Name, is prefaced by Wilkie with these words,
To that end, Magdalen is one of the most frustrating fictional characters I’ve read for quite some time.
She is drawn sympathetically by Wilkie.
In the first scene we see all her good points through the eyes of the other characters; we can’t but help liking her. She’s a little headstrong and foolish in a Jo March/Marianne Dashwood kind of way – charming but silly.
However when she falls in love with the weak-kneed, opportunistic, self-centred Frank Clare we all reach a turning point in trusting Magdalen to make good choices.
Throughout the remainder of the book we watch her make bad situations worse, by her poor choices.
Wilkie shows us another way of managing their plight in the example of her sister, Norah. Like the Dashwood sister’s in Sense and Sensibility, we are shown two ways of coping with adversity.
Norah gets on with making a new life for herself, makes the best of the things and doesn’t complain. She is stoic, patient & forgiving.
Magdalen is a drama queen. She is vengeful, scheming & single-minded.
Despite all this, we still like Magdalen and feel sorry for her. Even as we are left wondering if her happy ending was a little bit more than she actually deserved!
There is much more to Wilkie than Moonstone and Woman in White. He wrote 19 novels altogether – years of reading pleasure ahead of me!