Few poets can write decent fiction, and few fiction writers can write decent poetry. This is not decent fiction.
Eliot does his usual word-work in the piece, but it's a boring and trivial, arch and pretentious "story" with pompous characters.
In order for San Bruno to increase its population by 5,000 people (why is never made clear), a group of town boosters decide to raffle off a subdivision lot, the house on it, and a beautiful woman to marry. This was long before there was a state lottery or Indian casinos.
Presumably, the schemers involved are supposed to be admirable. The story is rather dated, and naturally sexism runs through it.
This is not a story for children, as people smoke cigarettes without bad consequences.
A story that plays with time, that ought to be read at one sitting. It starts in 1816 with an impoverished seamstress in a Paris slum watching a strange man in black. After a while, there is a flashback, then a jump to the future.
Balzac was not an optimist about wealth, love, or human nature. He wrote well and was great at plot. The translation is very good.
After 5 years in India and fighting in the Boer War, the son of a disgraced army colonel returns home to his village with the Victoria Cross. He is appalled by the bigotry and narrowness of mind of his fiancée, his parents, and the townspeople.
A minor novel by Maugham with a fairly simple plot, told from the hero's point of view. Not the kind of book that endeared him to British rustics.