A heavy, dramatic, rambling tome -in true 19th Century fashion- about a man who mismanages his life.
Here's what I learned:
-Don't get so drunk that 'selling' your wife seems like a good idea.
-People don't appreciate being lied to no matter how much you think it spares their feelings.
-Once you start lying don't keep on lying in an attempt to 'explain' the previous lie.
-Trying to keep up appearances for the sake of propriety just leads to subversive actions 'to get the job done' which in turn creates a tangled web over which one is likely to trip.
-Be careful whom you disparage because one day you might require their employment.
-Avoid making absolute 'always and forever henceforth' or 'never again' type statements. Better to leave a little bit of wiggle room because 'forever' is a long time.
-life is persistently unforeseeable.
-A lot of one's misery is brought upon oneself.
-What goes around, comes around.
-And, finally, Thomas Hardy's closing words 'Happiness was but the occasional episode in a general drama of pain.'
Those Victorians were a merry bunch, weren't they?