Monday, October 24, 2011

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

I have a sneaking feeling that this book is a classic, not least because the edition I borrowed has the words "Penguin Classics" on it. It's more because of how I've read about it in How To Read Literature Like A Professor (It's a good refresher course on literature). Ok, and also because of the words "Classic" on it. But to tell the truth, the only E.M Forster book I read before was one where he talked about Novels, and that was as research. I didn't like that book, so I didn't start reading this book with any high expectations.

To put it simply, this book is about two ladies who go to India, and one of them mistakenly thinks she was assaulted by a Muslim Indian doctor. The message of the book, which for once is very clear and glaring, is basically to portray the snobbishness of the colonisers and to give a portrayal of British India.

Now, if you don't know this, I should tell you: I'm very character driven. Often, I like/dislike a book based on my opinions of the characters and their actions. Plot is almost secondary to me. Keeping in mind that the plot of the book was simple, I have no idea how I even finished the book.

I supposed it was out of mistaken pride. The book felt long to me (and I'm the girl who reads Anna Karenina and War and Peace for fun), and I wanted to stop many many times. I have a feeling that the only reason why I didn't put the book down was due to a lack of new books, and an innate reluctance to read ebooks (which, thankfully, I've overcame).

All the characters of the book are unsympathetic, especially Azia, the protagonist of the novel. I had a feeling I was supposed to be sympathetic towards his situation but I just felt annoyed at his reactions, especially how he wasn't willing to forgive Adela. Adela, if you want to know, is the girl who cried "rape". My sympathy (or lack of it) for her oscillated towards the novel. One moment "Poor thing" another "...". Perhaps it's how the characters behave. Mrs Moore, who is almost universally praised, annoyed me, especially when she seemed self-centered to me. The only character I more-or-less liked throughout the whole book was Fielding.

P.S If you are lost with regards to character names, you can always check Wikipedia.

The prose though, is really moving at times. I suppose it was those moments that kept me reading throughout the whole novel.

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