Part of Penguin's beautiful hardback Clothbound Classics series, designed by the awardwinning Coralie BickfordSmith, these delectable and collectible editions are bound in highquality colourful, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the designGaskell's best known work is set in a small rural town, inhabited largely by women This is a community that runs on cooperation and gossip, at the very heart of which are the daughters of the former rector: Miss Deborah Jenkyns and her sister Miss Matty But domestic peace is constantly threatened in the form of financial disaster, imagined burglaries, tragic accidents, and the reapparance of longlost relatives 3.5 stars, rounded up.Want to take a trip to a small English town in the mid 1800s, meet the people and see what everyday life was like for the female population? Open Cranford and travel in time It is a sweet and simple book, comprised of what seemslike vignettes than an actual plot line Nothing exciting happens, life just unfolds, and yet you feel attached to these women, admiring the grace with which they handle their sometimes difficult world, the way they navigate a system that pigeonholes them and limits them.Miss Matty Jenkyns is such a sweet and gentle person She always thinks of others before self and tries to please everyone, sometimes to her own detriment She exhibits very little selfpity, and when she caves to even the simplest bit of a welldeserved indulgence, she succumbs to guilt and remorse immediately Her life has been about selfsacrifice and a bit of bullying by her older sister, but she is so nonjudgmental and wellloved by others, that you feel her sacrifice has not been unrewarded Matty is not a character I will easily forget.I do not think this is one of Gaskell’s best works North and South hassubstance; Mary Barton is much stronger Still, Cranford is heartwarming and touching in many ways and I am glad to have read it. I ended up loving this book so much! You follow a group of (older) women, mainly unmarried or widowed, in the small 'rural backwater of Cranford', and it's alot of talking, gossiping and dipping in and out of lives It was a very funny book, my favourite line being, My father was a man, and I know the sex pretty well (It is probably much funnier in context, but I've had it popping into my head constantly over the day) Amongst all their obsession with each others lives are some very poignant revelations how it would be nice to have a littlemoney, how a spinster might have married but didn't, the grieving for a child that never had the opportunity to exist (this in particular was heartbreaking), and the way that, for all their gossiping and occasional pettiness, the women rally around each other without fail I would point out, it's most likely not for everyone not a lot actually happens They talk, visit each other, time passes There are events, moments of drama, but it's a gentle story which I know bores some people For me however, it felt like an almost perfect read. Cranford, Elizabeth GaskellCranford is one of the betterknown novels of the 19thcentury English writer Elizabeth Gaskell There is no real plot, but rather a collection of satirical sketches, which sympathetically portray changing small town customs and values in mid Victorian England Harkening back to memories of her childhood in the small Cheshire town of Knutsford, Cranford is Elizabeth Gaskell's affectionate portrait of people and customs that were already becoming anachronisms.Chapter 1 – Our Society Chapter 2 – The Captain Chapter 3 – A Love Affair of Long Ago Chapter 4 – A Visit to an Old Bachelor Chapter 5 – Old Letters Chapter 6 – Poor Peter Chapter 7 – Visiting Chapter 8 – Your Ladyship Chapter 9 – Signor Brunoni Chapter 10 – The Panic Chapter 11 – Samuel Brown Chapter 12 – Engaged to be Married Chapter 13 – Stopped Payment Chapter 14 – Friends in Need Chapter 15 – A Happy Return Chapter 16 – Peace to Cranford.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز چهارم ماه مارس سال 2007 میلادیعنوان: کرانفورد؛ اثر: الیزابت گاسکل؛ مترجم: سیما حکمت؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، واژه، 1385، در 88 ص، مصور، شابک: 9645607221؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان انگلیسی سده 19 مداستانی در چند فصل و دو زبانه (فارسی انگلیسی) است (کتاب اصلی شانزده فصل دارد)، عنوان فصلها: خانم‌های کرانفورد، یک داستان عاشقانه‌ ی قدیمی، پیتر بینوا، برونتی بزرگ، داستان سام براون، ورشکستگی، و بازگشتی مبارک به خانه داستان درباره‌ ی شهر کوچکی ست به نام «کرانفورد» که از بسیاری جهات، شبیه یک جای معمولی است، اما از یک نظر هم بسیار ویژه است در این شهر، بجای مردان زنان هستند، که قوانین را تعیین می‌کنند هم‌چنین تعداد مردان در شهر، بسیار کم است نیز بیش‌تر خانم‌ها یا مجرد هستند، یا همسرانشان را از دست داده‌ اند از جمله‌ ی این افراد، دوشیزه دبوراه و دوشیزه ماتیلدا ـ دختران کشیش جنکینز هستند ا شربیانی I'll admit I'm no procurer of Victorian liteary novels, but I've always wanted to dabble in the works of Elizabeth Gaskell, the woman who had the honor of writing The Life of Charlotte Brontë Cranford is said to be slightly humorous, with a unique take on the lives of women during that era A bit humorous, partly due to the preposterousness of the attitudes surrounding small town etiquette, yes, but I wouldn't call it humorous in the general sense And yet these characters are electrifying and their everyday stories absorbing, which made me curious about the backdrop of Gaskell's creativity, where she produced such stories, and it led me to this beautiful picture of her home:Gaskell House, Plymouth Grove, Manchester (cc Creative Commons Patyo1994)Cranford is a village of people who, at the risk of seeming pretentious, choose to ignore anything uncomfortable, anything that suggests lack For example, the person who cannot afford a maid would hire someone temporarily when entertaining friends and pretend as if the maid is a permanent fixture, even though she is aware that everyone knows this is false No one speaks of another's wants, so imagine the disdain when a newcomer, Captain Brown, arrives and cannot stop speaking simply and openly about his poverty These small exchanges, highlighted by Gaskell's stylized prose, do add mirth to this ceremonial narrative If we walked to or from a party, it was because the night was so fine, or the air so refreshing, not because sedan chairs were expensive If we wore prints,instead of summer silks, it was because we preferred a washing material; and so on till we blinded ourselves to the vulgar fact that we were, all of us, people of very moderate means Each chapter proceeds in a short story fashion, with a narrator who you never really get to properly meet, but one who has a grasp on the village's idiosyncrasies The characters are mostly unmarried women who are older andreflective, so the reader is given stories from those pivotal moments of their lives, thus one gets an idea of the cultural dynamic The atmospheric vibe is pensive, as each new chapter is an evolution of Cranford, a tilt to the village's personality and character The contemporary comparative narrative that comes to mind is Olive Kitteridge, although I'll admit that no one character is really as dominant and memorable as good ole Olive And as I write this, I'm already considering how Gaskell's other novels, like Mary Barton or Ruth for example, would compare to this for me, since I do plan on sampling at least another one of her works. Cranford is quite an unusual book Having read North and South and Wives and Daughters , this novel (if you can call it one) took me by surprise To begin with, it has no proper plot or structure It is rather a written collection of lives, customs and social values of people of a fictitious town called Cranford which is modelled after the small Cheshire town of Knutsford.At first, I thought it is a collection of short stories But as I read on I found connectivity between the chapters so as to make it one continuous whole Although there is no proper story, this collected writing was engaging enough to keep you reading on The story or rather the collection of writing revolves around a set of elderly ladies, who dominate the society of the small town of Cranford, setting its customs and values Anyone who goes against these accepted conventions were looked down upon as vulgar In a changing society, these ladies were doing their very best to hold on to outdated customs and conventions Being written as a narrative by a young visitor and friend to Cranford ladies, who is not a part of that stringent society, makes the account unbiased and believable I do appreciate Ms Gaskell's prudence in bringing a narrator who is only an observer.With all that being said, what really arrested my attention and kept my interest in this unusual collection was the satirical writing of Ms Gaskell, of fading Victorian customs and values to which the elder generation has so clung to, as a religion The changes that were coming about with the industrialization were most unwelcoming to this slowly dying generation And their views were proclaimed with witty and satirical dialogues which were so entertaining to the reader At the same time, they invoke the reader's sympathy for the poor old ladies Overall, although this was so unexpected an outcome from one of my best loved authors, it was nevertheless a pleasant read I did enjoy it. FINALLY, an Elizabeth Gaskell book that I enjoyed!I honestly didn't think I would enjoy this book, and was almost regretting putting it on my Dewey's 24Hour Readathon TBR And whaddya know, I finished it! Cranford follows a group of women living in the small fictional town of, you guessed it, Cranford The women live in genteel poverty and have very oldfashioned mindsets about life and social niceties and norms The book is told from the perspective of Mary Smith (or Elizabeth Gaskell), and focuses mainly on Miss Matty, a sweettempered older woman who is one of the pillars of society since the death of her older, revered sister Deborah Jenkyns.This book was cute and sweet and quite funny, which did surprise me Although it took a little while for me to get used to the language (haven't read a classic in a while, and I usually find Gaskell's writing a little longwinded), it ended up becoming a much easier read than I anticipated Once you are familiar with the cast of characters and their personalities, it is really enjoyable seeing what will happen to them next.If you're a fan of Gaskell, or even not a fan of Gaskell, I'd definitely recommend it I'm glad I didn't give up on her writing Who knows, maybe I'll read another of her books at some point! This is a book about the village of Cranford which mainly women inhabit; women who live according to customs and norms and who are quite fond of gossip If you think this sounds good then this might be a book for you, but I personally got very tired of it very quickly Each chapter follows a new anecdote, and while some of them were quite entertaining, most of them were dull and quite shallow, in my eyes I'm sure the ladies of those days thought them of the utmost importance, but I couldn't seem to care much about their fascination with a male visitor, their tea party intrigues or their money problems I loved Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell, but this one not so much, unfortunately. the humor is so sly at times it's difficult to believe that this was written over 150 years ago I guess that gentle social humor has always been with us this was one of my status updates while reading Cranford, my first experience reading Elizabeth Gaskell As I finished reading, I felt the same way: pleased with the experience, surprised at the wit and wisdom written so well so many years ago But then I ask myselfWhy am I surprised? There are always intelligent women and always intelligent women who find ways to make themselves heard even in less than enthusiastic societies I need to keep looking for them!I had planned to include some of the truly wonderful quotes from various characters but instead I challenge you to read this book and discover them for yourself I venture to say you will be glad you did. Delightful! I went into this totally blind, knowing only that it's a respected classic by the author of NORTH AND SOUTH I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting this! CRANFORD is all about the village of Cranford, which is mostly inhabited by shabby genteel spinsters and widows The whole book is a serious of humorous vignettes about life there as related by an outsider, Mary Smith, who frequently goes to stay with her elderly friend Miss Matty Through the eyes of the narrator we see scandals like a charming widow remarrying (and to a man beneath her station, no less!), a roguish foreign conjuror turning out to be an Englishman in a turban or is he? and a wave of petty crime that causes the good ladies to sleep with one eye open and a series of elaborate traps laid out to catch the thieves or maybe they're murderers or perhaps even horrid Irish beggars! Though some real drama does occur, it is covered with a light touch and the overall impression of the book is one of gentle humor Quite a refreshing surprise, considering that I have recently read FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD and some of Louisa May Alcott's preachier entries into the fiction world!