Why is this incredibly slow book a classic then? Why is the plot so meandering that even describing it can be boring? So it features a bunch of unlikeable people living in a small town and no one gets their comeuppance? True. This is very true. However, the nature of the book is on several levels. So the edition I read the notes were by a woman named Fiona Stafford. She argues that there a million layers to the book, not the least in the names.