Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Passage to India

This is an excellent novel, which is not surprising as it has received numerous honors including being included in the Modern Library's 100 best novels list. It is the story of Dr. Aziz who is arrested on what proves to be a false allegation by a British woman. The people who are involved in Aziz's world and the ways that they react to each other and to India under British rule give the story its depth and dimension. The writing is clear and modern and frequently beautiful. There is also a lot of philosophical observation mixed in.

"In Europe life retreats out of the cold, and exquisite fireside myths have resulted--Balder, Persephone--but here the retreat is from the source of life, the treacherous sun, and no poetry adorns it because disillusionment cannot be beautiful. Men yearn for poetry thought they may not confess it; they desire that joy shall be graceful and sorrow august and infinity have a form, and India fails to accommodate them. The annual helter-skelter of April, when irritability and lust spread like a canker, is one of her comments on the orderly hopes of humanity. Fish manage better; fish, as the tanks dry, wriggle into the mud and wait for the rains to uncake them. But men try to be harmonious all the year round, and results are occasionally disastrous." (p.210-211)

E. M. Forster was born in England and published only 5 novels in his lifetime. A Passage to India (1924) was the last of these. It was written 20+ years before India achieved independence. 

2 comments:

  1. I just finished A Passage to India, and I always try to compare a few reviews. Only three of us on the Classics Club have reviewed it and we are evenly split....one seemed to hate it, I liked but didn't love it, and you have pretty high praise. Forster does have some lovely prose. Anyway, nice review.
    My review: http://100greatestnovelsofalltimequest.blogspot.com/2014/12/a-passage-to-india-by-em-forster-37.html

    ReplyDelete

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