The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1-3)
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The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles #1-3)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  9,429 ratings  ·  477 reviews
The three novels which make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family between 1886 and 1920. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women. This is the only critical edition of the work available, wit...more
Paperback, 912 pages
Published May 13th 1999 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published 1920)
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Community Reviews

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Petra X
The first time I read this book I was going up the Amazon. I had just crossed the Atlantic with three friends on a yacht and got off in Fortaleza, Brazil. I thought this would be my one and only chance to see the Amazon so I stuffed a backpack full of the necesssaries, abandoned the rest and got a bus to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon. A month later having explored Belem, Santarem and a few other small places I found myself in Manaus, 1,000 miles up the Amazon. It took me a few weeks to sort o...more
Christopher H.
This is a titanic masterpiece of a multi-generational story of a fictional English family that spans the Victorian, Edwardian, and post-World War I eras. For the first one-hundred pages or so, I found myself having to frequently refer to the Forsyte family genealogical chart; however, by the end of the book I knew all of the characters and their place in the family intimately. Like all families, Galsworthy has created a world of very real and human characters in the Forsyte family; a family boun...more
Cheryl
This saga is a FAVORITE for the reasons all readers choose books that transcend others...writing, plot, and characters. Bernard Shaw said he was heir to other dramatists including the obvious, Shakespeare and Sophocles, but his list includes some surprising entries. He lists the four great Evangelists who created the character Christ and the dramatist, Plato who created Socrates.

We may not agree, but the statement reminds me of how powerful these names are in our culture, how we identify with th...more
Siria
The Man of Property

The Man of Property is the first book in what would eventually turn out to be the nine volume Forsyte Saga, the work for which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered. It was made into a TV series not so long ago, which is how I'd heard of it, but I hadn't read it until I picked it up to read in an airport recently in order to pass the time thanks to interminable flight delays. It really did quite nicely.

The writing is very much of its time - 1906 - and for those who are not used to...more
Tea Jovanović
Ako ste u prilici odgledajte novu verziju BBC-jeve serije snimljene po ovom romanu, pre nekoliko godina... sjajno je urađenja...
Abby
Sep 14, 2013 Abby rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
“He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the small house, – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.”

There you have it. Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acquisitiveness and striving of the British upper-middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century....more
Laura
What a splendid family saga written by John Galsworthy.

The book covers the period between 1886 and 1920 and tells the story of the Forsyte's and their struggle to have the most successful life at that time.

This volume is composed by three books: The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let.

The first book describes the life of Soames Forsyte and his wife Irene. However, this marriage will have a lot of troublesome issues along the whole narrative. This will led to dramatic consequences for all For...more
Jemidar

Because of the ridiculously small font in my copy of this I actually read it on my Kindle in the three separate volumes (The Man of Property, In Chancery & The Forsyte Saga: To Let) it was originally published in. For me, the sum of the three books taken together adds up to way more than if you consider each book individually. I would definitely recommend reading them as one book.
Donna
Drat. I see I lost the slip of paper where I write page numbers and the little notes for the book report. There are a few numbers scrawled on the inside back cover; page 785 has cricket, 808 the fixed idea, and there's a giant dog-ear folded from the bottom of the page. That would be a chapter I want to read again. I put off finishing it too. The book was left untouched at page 830 for an entire month. Didn't want to finish it. I had been through too much with them, especially the unloveable Soa...more
Suvi
The family saga of Forsytes, who at the beginning smell an intruder amongst them (Bosinney the architect, engaged to June), examines how the far-reaching consequences of a certain love affair molds each person and generation in its own way.

The solicitor Soames considers his wife Irene as his property, the way you do with beautiful paintings that you parade in front of others. The couple's marriage suffers from Irene's indifference, which Soames of course doesn't understand, because he doesn't se...more
Paula
Finally finished! Took a year of picking it up, putting it down, etc. but with my new work-out routine finally finished this care of my Kindle. This was recommended to me by Mike, and considering the number of books he recommends, I had to get it and at least attempt it!

The book tells the tale of several generations of Forsytes; their failures, their successes, their families, their relationships, their thoughts, their worries and dreams. The saga contains multiple love relationships, some doom...more
Andrew
The Forstye Saga is a large family saga, spread over three generations of a Victorian family in London. The Forsytes are not titled or noblemen, but they are upper middle class, and they are good at one thing, making money. They aren't so good at many other things, like love and adapting to new ways.

I do enjoy sprawling family sagas, and I really enjoyed this one too, but did not love it. John Galsworthy creates a main character, Soames Forsyte, that is just disagreeable to me. I did not think m...more
David Lentz
The writing evident in this epic is masterful and engaging: it is even and substantive and elegant. The rich irony about the lengths that men strive to acquire property in all its forms and then find their acquisitions useless, meaningless and certainly not worth the price. Galworthy was focused upon property in so many different varieties: the sense of possession that men had of their wives in his time amid archaic laws about divorce; the building of a home that ends in unexpected expense in ch...more
Bekka
One of the greatest works of literature, there's a reason why Mr. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this work. An epic saga of a single extended family which spans several generations, Galsworthy creates characters that are human and fallible, noble, kind and cruel. The story is deeply moving, funny, infuriating and completely compelling. This is a huge work, but, as with all great novels, the better it is, the more you want it to continue on and on. This one does! The Saga compr...more
 ~Geektastic~
I found The Forsyte Saga on the shelf of my local library a couple of years ago and it has been a decided favorite of mine ever since. While “saga” is not the first word to come to mind when thinking about the British upper middle class in the later days of Victoria, it is apt. The story is a multigenerational examination of family and tradition in a time of transition, and it examines the various institutions and ideas that were under the most pressure to change as the British Empire declined f...more
Bethany
Oct 03, 2007 Bethany rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anglophiles and Lovers of Fine Literature
Shelves: 2007
This volume contains 3 full novels and 2 short stories that chronicle the lives of the upper middle-class Forsyte Family. It begins in 1886 at the height of Victorian England and takes us through the Boer War and World War I to 1920. It is the subtle way Nobel Prize winner Mr. Galsworthy brings us through this rough, transitionary time that makes this saga (and it is a saga) great instead of just good or interesting. The larger scope shows us the changing status of women from possessions to full...more
Sunday
Change sucks!

Nothing so poignantly marks lame ass change as following a stuffy family through generations of trying to stuff away scandal. This was a more vivid and shocking read than, say, Middlemarch was. But the "study" of a family, and even of a people in a certain time, is still rock solid. It's enjoyable and strange, with all kinds of shocking little twists and weirdness.

From the late 1800's into the 1900's, I mean hot damn. CARS. SHORT HAIR. WEIRD ART. SCIENCE?! This poor author had nosta...more
Janet
This was a five star read for me until suddenly it wasn’t.

Chronicling three generations of an upper middle class British family it presents a lustrous portrait of the Victorian era bookended by personal restraint and societal constraints. At the center of it all is the hapless Soames Forsyth with his formidable commitment to the creation and perpetuation of familial wealth and position. Ultimately, this is an 850 page treatise on respectability set in quicksand.

Soames’ unreciprocated passion fo...more
Inder
This is not a Victorian novel - it was written in the 1920s or 30s - but much of the novel takes place in Victorian times. It's the story of the Forsyte family, spanning several generations and several wars, and its obsession with "property." This has got to be one of the juiciest soap operas in print, and yet it is still full of substance and lessons for living. Watch out, it's a page turner! As much as I love reading Victorian novels, they rarely keep me up at night, but this one did on severa...more
Gitte
Jun 04, 2014 Gitte rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes big books (and cannot lie)
The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good or bad – merely comic, or pathetic.


The Beginning: Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight – an upper middle-class family in full plumage.

The Forsyte Saga was an amazing journey. At first I found it a bit confusing because of the many characters, and there were parts I found a bit dull. But somewhere during the first part, it really got interesting....more
Lindsey Strachan
The Forsyte Saga has been on my "to read" list for a long time but has always been one of the books I never quite got round to. Still, recently I finally got there and I wish I had done so earlier, for it has become one of my all time favourites. I wont summarise the story as other viewers have already done so very well. Suffice to say this is an epic saga covering the late Victorian and early 20th century period in London, through the lives of the Forsyte family (and this version only covers Vo...more
Nathan
The Forsyte Saga is an endurance read - a sometimes desultory ride through four generations of Forsytes, which makes me cherish the latitude literature has to tell stories at whatever pace it chooses. There came a point midway through the first book (the Saga is comprised of three, with two interstitial novellas) when I settled in and embraced the way this story was going to present the world of an extended family and the changing England around it, and the rewards of that experience, while subt...more
Maureen
Jul 07, 2008 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Maureen by: Sophi
Shelves: novel
The Forsythe Saga is made up of three books: The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let, with interludes included after the first two books, Indian Summer of a Forsyte, and Awakening. This is a vast, sprawling soap opera of a series, with scandalous affairs, divorces, wrangling over money, births and deaths, clashes between younger and older generations,love redeemed and love scorned, or, in short, something for everyone. Although as the partriarch of the household for most of the books, Soame...more
David
The TV series in the early sixties, when we had only one channel rather than one million of them, was compulsive viewing, and even Eton public school suspended all other activities so the masters and boys could watch it. They were probably all in love, as I was, with Irene, played by Nyree Dawn Porter, who died a few years ago. Her loveless marriage to the dastardly Soames Forsythe, the eponymous Man of Property of the first novel in the series, was the main centre of attention. Curiously, peopl...more
Teresa
In Chancery
What an awesome novel! The 'interlude' "An Indian Summer of a Forsyte" starts some years after "The Man of Property" and is basically about Old Jolyon, his last months of life, how he has changed, how he now is baffled (and enjoying) the beauty of life and nature. I really liked this character... I don't know, it was very... enchanting.
But in "In Chancery", that takes place twelve years after the events in the first novel of the saga, Galsworthy is back again with his acute – and ver...more
☽ Moon Rose ☯
What John Galsworthy exhibits in The Forsyte Saga is the conspicuous remnants left by the Victorian Era to its people, becoming a museum of portrayals to say the least that depict characters caught within the grasp of change as well as trapped in the nestle of their own expectations, demands and pressure as sought to them by society as a whole, further developing the intrinsic quality of man innate to them to resurface with vigorous alacrity that raises the subconscious truth in every man, that...more
Myridian
This book follows the Forsyte family through the Victorean and into the post-Victorean era. It primarily follows Soames and his wife Irene. The book comments on the British upper middle class, the principles of ownership, and the ways in which beauty affects individuals with different natures. Soames represents the desire for ownership in its purest form, while Irene represents beauty. One of the problems I had with this book is that I felt it was too harsh on the upper middle class. The name Fo...more
Kristina A
"I don't know what makes you think I have any influence," said Jolyon; "but if I have I'm bound to use it in a direction of what I think is her happiness. I am what they call a 'feminist,' I believe."

"Feminist!" repeated Soames [....] "Does that mean that you're against me?"

"Bluntly," said Jolyon, "I'm against any woman living with any man whom she definitely dislikes" (513).


Oh, Jolyon Forsyte, how could any modern reader resist you? Your definition of a feminist is, perhaps, a little simplistic...more
Irene
I thoroughly enjoyed this family saga. Over the span of 1,000 pages, we watch four generations of a family in mid-nineteenth century England through the inter-war period. Through the eyes of two cousins, this family comes alive, and through the eyes of this family, we see the birth, maturation and transformation of the “middle class”. England is changing from a society built on a two class system of nobility and commoner into a three class system with a newly created moneyed class that aspires t...more
Daisy
Having finished it:
This would've been harder I think to read (and stick with) than it was to listen to; listening to it was seductive like a radio soap opera or something. I'll miss it. It took a long time to get through and I'll miss its vivid characters and descriptions. I'm pretty attached to this family and all the eras they pass through. (Still not quite sure why Irene marries Soames in the first place.)

(Sweet, respectful references to pets.)

During reading:
This is great fun to listen to but...more
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John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright whose literary career spanned the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras.

In addition to his prolific literary status, Galsworthy was also a renowned social activist. He was an outspoken advocate for the women's suffrage movement, prison reform and animal rights. Galsworthy was the president of PEN, an organization that sought to promote intern...more
More about John Galsworthy...
The Man of Property: The Forsyte Saga To Let: The Forsyte Saga The White Monkey (The Forsyte Saga) In Chancery (The Forsyte Saga) Indian Summer of a Forsyte

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“Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!” 47 likes
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