The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler (Old Paperback)
"The savagely funny, iconoclastic odyssey of Ernest Pontifex, from joyless duty to unbridled liberalism Reared on piety, repression and emotional blackmail, Ernest Pontifex obediently follows the course prescribed for him towards Holy Orders. But half-hearted rebellion at Cambridge leads him into unwise theologies, unwiser financial dealing, and finally prison - which, ironically, frees him from the fetters of parental tyranny. His health and career ruined, Ernest has still more trials to face, including an unequal marriage, before a fortune and his godfather Mr Overton rescue him from the brink of destruction, and bring him into his own. Strong narrative, absorbing characters and a fine sense of irony make this exposure of the hypocrisy of nineteenth-century family life an astonishingly modern and enjoyable novel."