Beyond the Pale

In my campaign to read as many novellas as possible, I came across The Lifted Veil, by George Eliot, who you may know as Mary Anne Evans. This novella was out of character for her, being of a speculative nature, and I was intrigued.


I had been hoping for something horrific and accessible and what i got was something horrifyingly dense. A lot of literature during this era tended towards the overly dramatic, which is fine, but there is just something about George Eliot’s prose that was indecipherable. I found myself retreating time and again and attempting to scale the mountain once more. After the opening bit, I started to get the hang of it, but it was difficult going right through to the end.

It is, once you get through the thicket of verbosity, a fascinating tale of a young man who is given the ability to see into the future, and how that talent alienates him and makes his life miserable, all the way until his death. It would have been much more interesting if it didn’t take three times as long to read as it should.

If your goal is an enjoyable read, I’d steer clear of this one, but if your goal is to get an idea of Eliot’s work, or the history of seers in literature, this is an excellent piece for you to pick up.

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