Some people grasp early in life that the world is not divided into saints and monsters. For the rest of us, there is Trollope.
In The Way We Live Now, the character Auguste Melmotte is a fully-formed Robert Maxwell. We would like to think of such predators as anomalies, but they keep appearing. Trollope elegantly dissects how we lionise them.
Like Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury, every character engages the reader’s sympathy in some degree; and every character is in some way morally compromised. There is only one exception, a man of plain and robust virtue, an anchor in a slippery world; the least interesting character in the story.
I wish I had read Anthony Trollope as a young man, instead of butting my head against Dickens.