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Daniel Deronda
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Nadia May meets the strenuous demands of Eliot's narration with easy assurance. In this enduring Victorian classic written in 1876, two stories weave in and out of each other: The first is about Gwendolen, one of Eliot's finest creations, who grows from a self-centered young beauty to a thoughtful adult with an expanded vision of the world around her. The second is about Daniel Deronda, adopted son of an aristocratic Englishman who becomes fascinated with Jewish traditions when he meets an ailing Jewish philosopher named Mordecai and his sensitive sister, Mirah. Providentially, Daniel then discovers that he himself is Jewish. Eliot's (Middlemarch, Audio Reviews, LJ 3/15/95) tender portrait of Mordecai is considered by some critics to be one of the most sympathetic treatments of a Jewish character in Victorian literature. Characterizations are strong throughout, except when the author takes center stage and delivers one of her lengthy monologs. Once the compelling drama resumes, it makes incredible demands on the narrator. However, whether May is reading French or German or Italian quotations, or interpreting Mordecai's Zionist speeches, she deserves to share the final applause with George Eliot herself.‘Jo Carr, Sarasota, FL

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