M Forster I gave A Room with a View three stars and A Passage to India four, but this is even better than that A love story that I love, and it is extremely short I don t usually enjoy short novels It is a classic worth being called a classic Forster captures different sorts of people and their respective ways of being We have Harriet who is logical and straight thinking and Miss Caroline Abbott who wavers but recognizes the value of passion.
as well as its dangers There is Gino Carella, an Italian that will throw you off your feet and charm you so you only see the stars sparkling in the heaven There is Philip British, class oriented but drawn to the charms of Italy too Forster s characters are tempted and pulled and swayed and at the same time true to themselves I had to marvel how Forster pulled this off in so few pages One reads this for character portrayal and to find out how the love knots will be resolved Who will end up with whom Where and how England or Tuscany, Italy The time setting is the end of the 19th Century Forster captures different cultural tendencies beautifully, accurately, with a light touch and with humor First he made me laugh at British, end of the 19th Century social s peppered with clever observations Then the characters caught me up and pulled me in Finally Forster impressed me with his perception of human character Relationships are not drawn in neat and simple lines, but in knots and tangles.
as in, I think, real life It is this tangled mess and how the book concludes that I particularly like I listened to the audiobook narrated by Edward Petherbridge The beginning was almost impossible to decipher If not stubborn you may just throw in the the towel I ll say politely that he didn t destroy what IS a marvelous classic The narration I have given two stars it s OK and not impossible to follow I managed I didn t give up, but it could have been LOTS better I only want accents, exclamations and varied intonations if the author s words remain clear Just my personal point of view though, which may of course differ from others.
I really enjoyed this book It is close to amazing in its perceptiveness, in its ability to catch a snap shot of how people do sometimes behave and in its humor.
Called a comedy by some reviewers, I don t see that at all It is tragic all the way round There are comic aspects, especially at the beginning and I was as ready to laugh as anyone at the shallow, ignorant British tourist Lilia, falling in love with an Italian who is out of her class and social level The novel is uneven in its mood and I can tell that it is Forster s first He attains greatness in his later works, but here glimmers appear.
When The Young English Widow Lilia Herriton Takes Off On The Grand Tour And Along The Way Marries A Penniless Italian, Her In Laws Are Far From Amused That The Marriage Should Fail And Poor Lilia Die Tragically Are Only To Be Expected But That Lilia Should Have Had A Baby And That The Baby Should Be Raised As An Italian Are Matters Requiring Immediate Correction By Philip Herriton, His Dour Sister Harriet, And Their Well Meaning Friend Miss Abbott Some, but not all writers, can suffer with teething troubles on that first novel, E M Forster s 1905 Where Angels Fear To Tread is a prime example It s a valiant effort for a writer in his early days before what would follow, and I can t help but compare this to the delightful novel he wrote only three years later, A Room with a View , which pleasantly surprised me as to just how good it was This, just wasn t in the same league Our Mr Forster pretty much corners the literary market on English tourists being overwhelmed by the dream of another country, and what happens when that dream clashes against reality Here, that clash ain t pretty What it is, however, is sharp witted, emotional, and sometimes uncomfortable, about what it means to be a tourist, and what it means to put stock in the dream of another place.
Bon voyage Lilia , a young unsophisticated widow, is being dropped off at the train station by her in laws the domineering Mommy Dearest Mrs Herriton and her children, Philip and Harriet They are sending her on a trip to serene Italy with the young but trustworthy Caroline Abbott, to escape the droll life in Sawston, England, and prevent her from making a bad love match up Yep, we re back in those days of frilly hats, turned up moustaches and fine porcelain skin with not a blemish in sight Hello, Edwardian era repression You do look awfully uncomfortable in that corset my dear.
In Monteriano, Lilia marries the handsome but selfish Italian, Gino Carella but soon finds herself in an unhappy marriage with little personal freedom, and the cultural struggle between England and Italy becomes heated The set up swiftly changes when Lilia s newborn comes into the picture, and the novel turns into what one could describe as an old fashioned custody battle Philip and his sister Harriet set off to Italy to try and save the child from a poor upbringing And the pleasant nature than went prior is gone, turning the novel into a weighty affair The characters have gusto, and appear pained with panic, one in particular is forced into drastic measures that will effect the outcome It doesn t help when Caroline confesses her love for Gino, but there is no walking off into the sunset hand in hand, Forster s horizon is filled with a storm rather than blue skies.
M Forster is a terrific immersive writer, and it doesn t take much to be drawn into his stories This short novel does contain some gorgeous prose, and it s quick to fall in with his social political commentary, and the well rounded dynamic characters are easy to love or hate Just don t get down on yourself if you end up buying a one way ticket to Tuscany, canceling the ticket, buying the ticket again, and then canceling it again After all, you re only human And there s no one that understands fickle, flawed humanity like E.
M Forster So why not a better rating simple, I felt this was of a writing exercise, where he was wearing trainers and not shiny shoes, the whole novel seemed it was written by a man still trying to figure himself out as a writer Even the best have to start somewhere, right The ending also felt limp, casting a shadow over what when before The idea s were there for sure, and he would only improve, writing eventually in nice polished shoes Worth reading, but lacking certain ingredients that would eventually turn him into one of Britain s finest By the time my morning coffee and croissant comes around, this isn t likely to be lingering in my mind Whereas A Room with View , which was read some time ago, still floats about occasionally.
I can t be objective regarding E M Forster Simply love his novels I m always amused at the distain the haughty English aristocrat feels toward the average Italian and their incomprehensible ways and their attitude toward life I ve noticed it in several works of English literature and, not being English myself, I don t know if it really exists I hope it is true, I won t have to change my perception of the 19th and early 20th century English I like them that way, their style, their arrogance, if that s the right word, their belief that their way is the right way and everything else be dammed That s the case in this novel when an upper class English family sees their widowed daughter in law fall for and marry an Italian of unacceptable status Things turn tragic and complicated when she dies in childbirth The English family does not want this child, their blood relative, to be raised Italian, and so the struggle begins This is Forster s first novel but the genius is there, you can feel it in the reading, and it remains one of my favorites of his work.
I only realized half way through that E M Forster was 26 when he wrote this which is his first If I d known that I wouldn t have read it, I have a violent prejudice against novelists under 30 It s too early to start In other art forms it s essential to be under 30 the Beatles were in their mid 20s when they did Sgt Pepper, Brian Wilson was 23 and 24 when he created Pet Sounds and Smile, Picasso was churning out brilliant realist works in his mid teens, and not to mention Mozart s unpleasant precocity, sitting up in his pram and scribbling oratorios onto every available surface but the art of the novel lays bare the author s mind too eloquently, it s far intimate and therefore cruelly revealing than music or painting, your under 30 crassness and callowness will be exposed, you re caught in the fierce headlights forever Perhaps I am harsh let us see what Forster himself said about this novel The story takes place mostly in a small town in Italy called San Gimignano retitled Monteriano here which is a medieval version of Manhattan, very remarkable I went there once It looks like this.
An English widow falls in love with a local guy called Gino who probably looked like thisForster said later The tourist may be intelligent, warm hearted and alert, and I think I was that much, but he has to go back every evening to his hotel and he can know very little of the class structure of the country he is visiting My limitations were very grave Fortunately I was unaware of them, and plunged ahead.
What s so remarkable here is my own temerity For I placed Gino firmly in his society although I knew nothing about it I guessed at his relatives, his daily life, his habits, his house, and his sketchy conception of housekeeping Young novelists have to make up a lot of stuff, for sure That said, Where Angels Fear To Tread the lurid title was foisted on Foister by the publishers is pretty good Forster has a patented style you think you re reading light frothy social satire but he keeps upsetting his own applecart with acidulous barbs and then the whole thing suddenly swerves into stark horror and goes all to hell It s a very good style This book literally fell apart while I was reading it 1985 paperback, spinal glue dried to powder and it would be far too glib to say as did the story itself so I won t What you have here is a strange case history The MacGuffin in the story is a baby, and I m not sure you should turn a baby into a MacGuffin But it does put under the spotlight the strange ideas humans especially upper class English Edwardian humans had about children The sheer unsentimentality as soon as they re born, turn them over to a nanny When they reach school age, off they go to a boarding school You hardly ever had to bother with your children if you were rich enough It spared you of all those tiresome aspects of child rearing and gave you time for cruising down the Grand Canal and attending fabulous balls and eating ptarmigans brains.
What Forster seems to want to delineate according to him is the spiritual awakening of his protagonist Philip As in so many novels, I think what he thought he was doing and what he was actually doing were two different things This is a surprisingly bitter tirade about ugly English upper class morality A really good start.
I ve decided to revisit Forster I ve never really had a high opinion of his work, but I feel like that may be my problem, not his I first read Where Angels Fear To Tread about four years ago and my original review is presented below god I was so shit at reviews back then why did none of you tell me What I can glean from my second reading of Where Angels Fear To Tread is that I enjoyed it this time I recall being quite bored with it the first time around but this time my boredom was replaced by amusement I also appreciated the farcical nature of the novel too It brilliantly captures the fin de si cle folly of going on the Grand Tour and the type of people who took such a journey However while I think that Where Angels Fear To Tread is a fun send up of the upper classes and their strive to keep up appearances, I do not think it is anything than that.
What confuses me about the novel is its tone What exactly was Forster going for There are many moments of light comedy and it could also be called something of a comedy of manners but there are also some truly horrific moments of tragedy To call the book comic would be crass but to call it tragic would be disingenuous There is also the problem of Forster introducing a cast of interesting characters in the first chapter, only to slowly shed them all as the narrative progresses.
I don t think I m going to change my rating on this one Last time I gave it two stars because I was bored, this time I am giving it two stars because it just isn t that great of a novel I get what Forster was doing here It s a valiant first attempt But there s a reason why we still discuss Howards End and A Room With A View but not Where Angels Fear To Tread original review from July 2014 I expected from Forster Well, to be honest, this was his first novel and isn t one that is talked about all that much There s obviously a reason for that Even though this novel is less than 150 pages long, it feels much longer and that s not a good thing It s kinda boring at parts which really doesn t help Eh this novel is just meh as a whole Meh.
DOVE GLI ANGELI NON OSANO METTERE PIEDEMonterianoEcco come Wikipedia sintetizza la trama di questo esordio letterario di Edward Morgan Forster 1879 1970 aveva ventiquattro anni quando lo scrisse Durante un viaggio attraverso le colline della Toscana con la sua giovane amica e compagna di viaggio Caroline, la vedova Lilia Herriton si innamora, oltre che del paesaggio, anche di Gino, un bell italiano aitante nonch molto pi giovane di lei questo la fa decidere a rimanere rimandando la partenza Furibonda, la famiglia del marito morto, venuta a conoscenza del fatto, invia il parente Philip in Italia nel tentativo di sventare lo scandalo egli giunge per troppo tardi Lilia subito convolata a nozze col ragazzo ed anzi si trova gi incinta al momento del parto purtroppo, per colpa di una grave complicazione accaduta improvvisamente, muore Ed ecco Philip cerca di salvare questa volta il neonato da una vita sicuramente immersa nella miseria e nell incivilt caratteristiche della penisola ma cos facendo cerca anche di salvare la buona reputazione della famiglia I suoceri di Lilia fanno chiaramente capire che un loro diritto, ma anche un proprio preciso dovere, quello di ottenere l affidamento del bambino di modo che possa essere cresciuto ed allevato come un inglese Nel frattempo anche la giovane Caroline ha scelto di trattenersi in Italia La morte accidentale del piccolo figlio di Lilia produce tutta una serie di drastici cambiamenti all interno della vicenda il violento sfogo del padre Gino contro Philip appena saputa la notizia della morte del bambino, il forte senso di colpa provato dall unica sorella di Lilia, Harriet, che le provoca un insanabile crisi nervosa, infine lo stesso Philip che si rende conto d essersi innamorato di Caroline ma anche che non potr mai arrivare ad averla in quanto lei stessa ammette drammaticamente d amare Gino.
Il film del 1991 diretto da Charles Sturridge, di cui ricordo un ben miglior adattamento, Il matrimonio di Lady Brenda dal romanzo di Evelyn Waugh A Handful of Dust , questo del 1988 E la miniserie Ritorno a Brideshead , sempre da Waugh.
Ed eccola invece raccontata da Alberto Arbasino L idillio malinteso di una vedovella del Surrey la sua mente debole la rendeva fredda e un ragazzo chiantigiano attraente e fatuo e che sputa per terra Si sposano e dopo un campionario di incomprensioni e raffronti razziali , lei muore di parto E incomincia la commedia maggiore L altruismo meschino del villaggio britannico si risveglia per strappare l infante allo scandaloso giovane pap latino, con la moralit della convinzione per cui da tutto questo male non pu venire che del bene E parte la spedizione dei celibi un cognato, una cognata, un amica della morta, sorvegliati a distanza dalla mamma dragona soltanto per soggiacere, non appena a Monteriano, a diverse forme femminee del mal d Italia Morr qui l infante, rapito goffamente, ma qualche barlume della seduzione italiana intravvista sopravvivr probabilmente in quelle anime gi senili, trattate con esattezze preoccupanti da quel romanziere giovanissimo.
L inglese rapita dal fascino del giovane italiano Helen Mirren, lui Giovanni Guidelli.
Io mi sono avvicinato a Forster proprio grazie ad Arbasino stata una delle mie guide letterarie all inizio coglievo un centesimo dei riferimenti di cui sono infarciti i suoi scritti, ma impossibile non trovarli comunque brillanti e divertenti, spasso e interesse garantito Anche se con stile ancora acerbo, non all altezza della sua breve produzione a seguire solo altri cinque romanzi c qui gi presente un tema caro a Forster Nord Sud Che poi diventer Ovest Est, o meglio Occidente Oriente Passaggio in India.
Pu sembrare un contrasto ingenuo e clich tardo romantico, ma non bisogna dimenticare che si era ancora all epoca del Grand Tour E quindi, un Nord zitellesco e facilmente imbarazzabile contrapposto alla spontaneit conturbante e carnale degli italiani.
Helena Bonham Carter e Rupert Graves Da ricordare anche la magnifica Judy Davis L Italia fa girare la testa agli stranieri Questo Sud cattolico e pagano sembra esprimere soprattutto latin lovers dionisiaci mentre il Settentrione produce solo scapoli inibiti e nubili inquiete, nonch quelle dragone temibili che trionfano nel teatro di Oscar Wilde e nei misteri di Agatha ChristieS , certo, ancora il grande Alberto che si esprime cos.
E ancora, sempre parole di Arbasino Nella luce spossante e suadente di meriggi continui, eccessivi come un soggiorno in India, ecco paesaggi chiantigiani selvatici, bench coltivati da duemila anni e il sospetto che una libert abbastanza p nica e b cchica degli istinti si appiatti dietro le convenzioni piccolo borghesi e contadine della provincia italiana dei viaggi in treno e in carrozza.
Ancora Mirren e Guidelli Tra gli altri interpreti italiani ricordo Luca Lazzareschi, Anna Lelio.
Forster, che per qualcuno il pi grande romanziere inglese della prima met del Novecento, scrisse solo sei romanzi questo pubblicato nel 1905, Il viaggio pi lungo nel 1907, Camera con vista l anno dopo, Casa Howard nel 1910, e infine Passaggio in India dopo lungo break, nel 1924 Poi, il silenzio, fino alla morte, per quasi cinquant anni Anche se con silenzio intendo che abbandon la narrativa per dedicarsi alla critica, saggistica, alla biografia, al teatro, ai racconti, eccetera.
Il perch sembra essere contenuto nel sesto romanzo che non ho ancora nominato Maurice, pubblicato postumo 1971 , ma scritto tra il 1913 14, dutrante la lunga pausa tra due opere colossali come Casa Howard e Passaggio in India La fatica di nascondersi, di parlare solo di amori eterosessuali, di dover tacere la sua omosessualit.
Per tornare a Monteriano, romanzo che Arbasino consiglia di leggere, o rileggere, preferibilmente in campagna, lo si pu leggere anche quale deliziosa commedia di osservazione e conversazione e costumi, secondo la scuola di Jane Austen e di altre Grandi Signorine insigni nella tradizione narrativa britannica.
What is important in life Sensuality and natural instincts, as Lilia seems to think when engaging with an Italian dentist s handsome but uncultured son, Gino Sophistication and belief in art as a means to find purpose and satisfaction Friendship Passion Where Angels Fear To Tread that is life without the gloss of romance to make it look prettier than it is Seen in close up, sexual tension is not glamorous or even particularly exciting, and a m salliance is a marriage too, just like a conventional one, and it comes with the same issues, once the romance has worn off.
Sacrifice oneself to convention to satisfy other people Is that the path for angels to tread securely Hardly What for To engage in petty unselfishness , as Forster eloquently sums up a life lived for appearances As the sad novel of unfulfilled dreams, unspent passions, unseen art and unlived life comes to a close, I believe I know what to take from it We can t ever rely on somebody or something else to give us meaning If we look for purpose and satisfaction in other people, rather than within ourselves, we will always, always be disappointed For other people don t pursue our happiness, not even when they claim to love us They pursue their own goals, and if we happen to cross their path we may be used as a vehicle on their quest, that s all If we want to be brave angels, walking joyously on the path that leads to an interesting and fulfilling future, we have to look for our own meaning Where angels like to walk