This novel is really an experimental novel. It has both elements of the fable and psychological realism and moves effortlessly between the two. Normally, these would pull in diametrically opposed directions but once again Eliot manages to pull it off. I'm not quite sure how she does it, but for instance Marner is both a real person and stands for an idea. The plot of the novel is a kind of allegory, but you also read it as realist at the same time. It's all very subtle and all very clever and it seems more innovative than most of the "innovative" novels written these days do.
It also is full of the minutia of rural life. Something that only Hardy did better. I made a mistake in reading this novel at the time I did, because I was not really in the mood for it, but there is nothing really I can say against it. It doesn't even have Eliot's normal flaw of needing a good pruning. That being said it is nowhere near as good as something like Middlemarch. It is much less ambitious. But it really shows how innovative Eliot is and puts her genius on display.