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Search tags: e.m.-forster
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review 2018-11-12 19:27
A Room with a View
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

After having listened to the audiobook, excellently narrated by Rebecca Hall, my feelings towards this book haven´t changed a bit. Okay, maybe I liked Mr. Emerson senior more this time around. But everything else is as it has been two years ago. So here is my review from back then once more:

 

A coming of age story about a young Englischwoman named Lucy Honeychurch, who during her travel to Florence realizes that she is trapped in her rigid upperclass life and yet isn´t able to escape it. Soon she has to make a decision whether she is going to do the things that everyone is expecting from her or whether she is going to follow her own heart.

 

A Room with a View didn´t win me completly over, even though I really liked how E.M. Forster adresses the issues of stiff, victorian society in the beginning of the 1900s. But the characters lacked developement, the writing confused me more than once while reading this novel and the love story could have been more fleshed out. And Lucy Honeychurch is a lying, spoiled brat and most definitely not a heroine that I could root for.

 

Not one of my favorite classics, but there were some chapters that I adore (the scene at the lake is one of them). A solid three star read.

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text 2018-11-06 21:29
Reading progress update: I've listened 323 out of 452 minutes.
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

I´m sorry, but does anybody else think this book is incredibly annoying? Because I do think so.

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text 2018-10-26 19:20
Reading progress update: I've listened 60 out of 452 minutes.
A Room with a View - E.M. Forster

I like to reread books on audio and I really felt like listening to something light and uplifting. A Room with a View fits this criteria. I haven´t been over the moon by this book the first time I read it, so let´s see how I´m getting along with it this time around.

 

I´m listening to the narration by Rebecca Hall and she does a really great job. Her Miss Bartlett is amazing.

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text 2018-08-22 13:58
Reading progress update: I've read 9 out of 247 pages.
Maurice - E.M. Forster

I need some Forster. 

 

Alas, this is my last Forster novel. After this, I only have the short stories and literary criticism.

 

It's off to a good start:

"Mr Abrahams was a preparatory schoolmaster of the old-fashioned sort. He cared neither for work nor games, but fed his boys well and saw that they did not misbehave. The rest he left to the parents, and did not speculate how much the parents were leaving to him. Amid mutual compliments the boys passed out into a public school, healthy but backward, to receive upon undefended flesh the first blows of the world. There is much to be said for apathy in education, and Mr Abrahams’s pupils did not do badly in the long run, became parents in their turn, and in some cases sent him their sons. Mr Read, the junior assistant, was a master of the same type, only stupider, while Mr Ducie, the senior, acted as a stimulant, and prevented the whole concern from going to sleep. They did not like him much, but knew that he was necessary."

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review 2018-07-22 23:11
E.M. Forster: A New Life
E.M. Forster: A New Life - Wendy Moffat

Before judging my reading experience of this book based on my star rating, let me say this:

 

This was not a bad book and there are aspects of this biography that provide a valuable insight into Forster's life and work. However, this biography really follows Forster's life from one angle only, depending on what you expect from a biography, mileage on this may vary.

 

Moffat starts the book with an explanation of her approach, which in turn is based on something Christopher Isherwood said when looking at a stack of biographies about Forster:

"Of course all those books have got to be re-written," he said. "Unless you start with the fact that he was homosexual, nothing's any good."

That is, Moffat is quoting from an Isherwood biography by John Lehmann here, and whether this is a true account or was written as a dramatic embellishment, I could not say. 

It does, however, go straight to the heart of Moffat's biography ... and also to one of the criticisms I have.

 

Moffat does an excellent job presenting Forster in the context of his sexuality, or more precisely his initial struggles with it and the immense pressure he felt of not being able to live openly for fear of persecution and, indeed, prosecution. Being a young man at the start of the 20th century, Forster would have only been too aware of the trials of Oscar Wilde and would himself witness the arrest of friends and acquaintances over the decades. 

 

His resentment over not being able to tell the stories he really wanted to tell and over having to work within the expectations of societal conventions lead to Forster stopping to write major works of fiction after A Passage to India (1924). That is, he did write another major novel, Maurice, but insisted that it should not be published until after his death as the story tells of the relationship between two men and he feared the repercussions. (Btw, Maurice apparently includes a game-keeper scene that may have inspired D.H. Lawrence - one of the few people who were aware of the manuscript - to mock it in Lady Chatterley's Lover)   

 

Moffat explores Forster's diaries - including his "locked" diaries, which he also only allowed access after his death - in detail and we do get a clear picture of the anxieties and of the passions Forster had, and Moffat does well to connect Forster's diary entries with the lives of his friends, peers, and with perception of homosexuality in society through the decades. 

 

However, this is also the main point where this book fell down for me. Moffat goes into a lot of detail. Salacious detail. Lots and lots of it. At times, I felt like whole chapters were focusing about who bedded whom more so than Forster's life and work. Rather than developing an argument, it felt like some of the descriptions merely served to provide a sensationalist hook. 

 

I really should have liked this more than I did, but the meandering descriptions of relationships (not just Forster's but also of his friends and acquaintances) made me skim over quite a few paragraphs. There was little point to most of them.

 

The other criticism I have is with Moffat's writing style. It did not work for me. Her narrative sounded dramatised in a way that made the book read more like fiction than non-fiction and some of the descriptions, as a result of the narrations, did not sound factual even tho they may have been. This was not helped by the way that references were not clearly marked in the text. They were there, of course, but I should not have to check the reference section in the book to see if a certain line on a page is actually backed up with a source of research. 

 

All in all, this was interesting, but I would not recommend the book without some hesitation.

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