After finishing Karamazov I moved on to the lesser known Thomas Hardy novel A Laodicean (from 1881, almost exactly contemporary with Karamazov). I am something of a fan of Thomas Hardy at times. I like the atmosphere of the Thomas Hardy world, the slowness and almost eternal quality of it. A Laodicean is, ironically perhaps, in large part about the changes in the way life was lived during the 19th society, but the pace and scale of the change will strike the 21st century reader as modest, and, as recorded in the book, quaint and even kind of romantic. The story takes place in a castle that has been purchased from its owners since time immemorial by a railroad magnate, who has died, the possession passing to his intelligent and attractive twenty-something daughter. A telegraph line has been run into a cozy office set up in one of the castle's turrets, that comes crackling to life once or twice a day, and the young owner, since she has to live there at least part of the year, is contemplating a renovation of the decrepit castle to bring it up somewhat to a 19th century standard. The main occupants of this castle most days are the young owner, her friend and companion, who is a member of the dispossessed aristocratic family who formerly owned the castle, and the young (male) architect who has been employed to carry out the renovations, a process expected to take the better part of 2-3 years. All of these people are intelligent and attractive, and the minor characters--clergymen and other member of the local society--are reasonably bright and presentable as well. There are as yet none of the wretched, obviously doomed sort of person who occupies the more well-known Hardy books. I assume something excruciatingly awful is going to happen to someone eventually but it has not become apparent what this is going to be yet.
I am tempted to try to wrestle more with the big contemporary political issues, especially all of those that in my heart of hearts and brain of brain I am on the wrong side of (which is most of them), but hopefully a time will come where I will hit on the right ideas to make my position intelligible to someone, for it must be that at some level. (See, I am falling asleep now, and I don't want to wait a month to post this while I sort through the origins and ongoing basis for my political beliefs and reactions...)