Monday, May 16, 2016

A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster

A Room with a View, by E. M. Forster

I sometimes find it easier to relate to pure fantasy or science-fiction novels than I do those set in the Victorian or Edwardian eras. People are very concerned with their status and appearances, and class warfare is subtle but real. Sexism is rampant, and as always, puzzling. "It was not that ladies were inferior to men, it was that they were different. Their mission was to inspire others to achievement rather than to achieve themselves." The plot here is largely driven by a young woman raised in this world, but awakening to modern modes of thought and behavior. She starts the novel on a well-chaperoned trip to Italy, but a chance encounter with a free-thinker starts her on a journey that leads to a tough decision: expression versus repression, ardor versus apathy, life versus lethargy. Not my favorite novel, but an illuminating look at an opaque world.

First Sentence:
"The signora had no business to do it," said Miss Bartlett, "no business at all."

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