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The Longest Journey

3.51  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,348 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
In writing about E. M. Forster, the American critic Lionel Trilling has described The Longest Journey as 'perhaps the most brilliant, the most dramatic and the most passionate of his works'. It is the story of Rickie, a sensitive and intelligent young man with a certain amount of literary talent and a modest fortune, who sets out from Cambridge with the intention of writin ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published 1960 by Penguin Books (first published 1907)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Missy
Jun 25, 2008 Missy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: canon-izers
Oh how I suck up these wordy early 20th Century tales of love and woe and irony.

I truly enjoyed this book, I really yearned to read it and I could not really express why to someone who would say "What?!?!? Nothing happens! It is just a bunch of stuffy people worrying about manners!".

Oh, but it is that and so much more.

If you're like me and you could really go for some Henry James, D.H. Lawrence, or some other canonized British/European/American Ex-Patriot from those times, then you will like th
...more
Esdaile
It is described by Stephen Spender, I think, as Forster's "most accomplished work". It is flawed, the girl in the novel exceptionally tedious, the ideal "brute savage" too ideal. But there are memorable scenes-the awful opening speech for the new term, the depiction of bullying, the atmosphere of convention and restraint which closes in on Ricky. There is much to be said for the refining qualities of censorship when considering this novel. Whatever one thinks of it, it is a far finer novel than ...more
Glimmer-glass Girl
This book depressed me slightly... the ending seemed to convey that life is alot of dead ends and perhaps a bit aimless. I agree that life is often this way, but I'm not sure I like it in literature. I absolutely loved Ansell's character, though, and wish he were in the book more. I think Ansell and Rickie's friendship was more interesting than anything with Agnes. The idea of reality I absolutely loved reading about. I believe someone said that Forster is the professor with the door always open ...more
Basicallyrun
Feb 04, 2011 Basicallyrun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TLJ was Forster's favourite novel, and now I've read it I can see why. If you've read the The Machine Stops collection of short stories and a biography of Forster, you can have endless fun in the Cambridge section playing 'spot the biographical detail'. Rickie comes so very, very close to being a self-insert. In fact, he probably started life as one, but as soon as he leaves Cambridge, his life takes a completely different turn and he ends up possibly representing the road not taken of the conve ...more
Steven
Mar 12, 2011 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another wonderful book from EM Forster. This is the fourth of his books that I've read and I'm in love with them all! I grew quite attached to Rickie and felt the weight of the world he was bearing. This book delivered some genuine shocks. I don't remember the last time I gasped out loud this many times in the last few pages of The Longest Journey. Forster's witticisms slay me; his sarcastic narrators never fail to make me chuckle. His books just feel so comfortable! Highly recommended.
Helle
This is not an easy novel for me to review because I love E.M. Forster, but I didn’t love this book. The overall storyline I liked well enough: a young Cambridge man discusses philosophy with his fellow students, finishes life at university, which he has enjoyed immensely, and tries to establish himself as a writer, only to be lured away by a woman, by marriage, by the woman’s brother and his insistence on the main character making his way in the world by teaching instead of writing, thus markin ...more
Tony
THE LONGEST JOURNEY. (U.S. 1922; UK 1907). E. M. Forster. ***.
I’m a big fan of Forster’s novels, but this one left me cold. It’s the life story of Rickie (Frederick) Elliot, a young man whom we meet as he is enrolled at a Cambridge college. He was a sensitive and delicate young man with a deformity – supposedly inherited – that left one leg shorter than the other. His passion was to become a writer. We meet Agnes and Herbert Pembroke, brother and sister, when they visit Rickie at his college. Ev
...more
Brian Eshleman
As a limited but interesting point of comparison, this is a little like a novel version of The Education of Henry Adams. Unlike Adams, the protagonist here is educated on the cusp of the 20th century rather than on the pinnacle of 19th century thinking. However, the lapse of time in between has changed little. The protagonist here struggles to apply his Cambridge education to a changing world and to apply himself to meaningful work. The choices he faces as a teacher and something of an idealist ...more
Gale
“Preserving Family Secrets—Honoring Family Dreams”
This 1907 novel probes the gradual maturation of a young Cambridge student, Ricki Elliot—grappling with various life issues. It is in his favorite haunt, a delightful dell some distance from the ‘Varsity, that he recounts to his male peers the sad tale of his childhood and youth; for this fellow, smaller and lame, is now without parents. His very nickname was his father’s cruel jest re the boy’s rickety locomotion. Prone to daydreaming about bei
...more
Laurie
Feb 24, 2015 Laurie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This started off pretty good for me, then quickly turned into somewhat of a slog. However, I zoomed through the second half and ended up liking it. Boy, what a restrictive downer of a story!
Ashley
Feb 09, 2014 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, brit-lit
An interesting exploration of the balance and tension between convention and freedom, selfishness and selflessness, indoors and outdoors, and formality and comfort. Rickie variously visits or lives in many different places, and is seduced or repulsed by what he sees. He finds what he thinks he wants, only to discover that under the surface, his conventional, indoor, structured life is rotten and unsupportable, and incompatible with who he wants to be. The book doesn't wrap everything up with a n ...more
Amelmag
Definitely not my favorite of the E.M. Forster books I've read. It has neither the prophetic voice of Where Angels Fear to Tread's tightly crafted narrative, nor the burning vision of Howard's End By E. M. Forster's depiction of love. However, a powerful book in its own right.

This is the complex and meandering tale of one man's life: his hopes and dreams, his failures and disappointments, his growths and backtracks, his death. It is the story of how life (even when it seems rife with waste and
...more
Nell
Feb 14, 2015 Nell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Completing my final year exams, I felt disillusioned with life in general. It felt odd not to have the comfort of knowing I'd be returning to education in September to alleviate any guilt from a somewhat idle summer. Neither did it help that the overwhelming task of properly starting a 'working life' had become more apparent than ever before. I immediately missed the library and the silent camaraderie of that environment. I really appreciated that this revision period would be the last of my lif ...more
Sistermagpie
I think this might be an early work by Forster--it doesn't have the weight of some of his more well-known books, but it's interesting to read nonetheless. It's mostly concerned with a sort of killing of the soul when one submits to the wrong relationships and the wrong world, something that must happen every day. I think I may have been a little resistant to some of the characters because I didn't respond to them the way Forster maybe did.

For instance, I couldn't help but feel like there was a
...more
Lisa (scarlet21)
Apr 06, 2012 Lisa (scarlet21) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this novel. Convention and philosophy meet nature and spirituality. What is the right way to live and what the wrong? Can anyone ever tell us how to live our life?

Born into a tragic life, crippled by a hereditary condition, Rickie finds good company at Cambridge though always unsure of himself and his destiny. Guided too much by too little he falls, in the guise of love, into the manipulative clutches of Agnes and her brother and thence into the twisted manoeuvrings of his aunt. Once in th
...more
Melissa
Rickie Elliott is a Cambridge student and a struggling writer. After becoming infatuated with an engaged young woman, Agnes Pembroke, his quiet life is changed forever. The two end up married and Rickie takes a position as a schoolmaster. Soon Rickie learns Agnes' true nature, which is drastically different from his own.

The Longest Journey feels like an author's early work, full of idealistic young men and good concepts, but characters that sometimes fall flat. It was the second book Forster pu
...more
Jill
Jun 19, 2015 Jill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, brit-lit
I enjoyed this book maybe 1.5 stars or 2 stars. It was a very long journey to read- that's for sure. I felt like nothing happened until 200 pages into a 300 page book. However, there are several segments of Forster's writing that are unparalleled in style and beauty. During the second half of the book, especially, there were paragraphs so well-written, I re-read them a few times. They were really beautiful, and I was so impressed by them. Forster is one of my favorite authors, and this book is m ...more
Eileen
Good lord, could any book be as obvious a first novel as this?

"Rickie, an obvious portrait of the author, debates philosophy with his set of brash, arrogant, lower-class, yet strangely enticing fellow students at Oxford. When his close friend Agnes becomes engaged to Gerald, Rickie's childhood tormentor and all-around dolt who nevertheless exudes a kind of golden, seductive, animal charm, Rickie is inwardly disturbed, but merely stumps around on his deformed leg, occasionally exchanging philosop
...more
Avd.Reader
The book was a bit awkward and confusing, and nothing sucks like confusion.
The title is taken from Shelley's long love poem "Epipsychidion" in which he defends the principle of freedom in love and togetherness and turns an actual woman into a rhetorical ideal.
It felt like Forster was trying out scenarios of genuine and dishonest love on a scale between the ideal and the material in a roundabout way. It says on the back cover that this was Forster's own favorite, a novel of ideas. Most seem to
...more
Qi
Sep 02, 2015 Qi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-read-books

If “A Room with A View” gives us the glorious vista of finding one’s soul as well as a companionable life partner, then “The Longest Journey” contemplates the dreariness on the “broad highway of the world” with a worldly spouse. Lucy and Rickie, in separate conditions, had chosen differently on their lives’ journeys. The “Room” gives us conjugal bliss, the “Journey” its partnered acridity.

The title refers to the following poem by Shelly. It is short enough to quote in full:

The Dreariest Journey
...more
Rebecca Hazell
After all the praise heaped on this book, I was disappointed. It's the story of a young man who discovers that his ideals and reality don't have much to do with each other. We meet lots of characters who seem to personify different social strata and different philosophical and social points of view, but not one of them seems to have any sense, much less be at all sympathetic. That doesn't mean that Forrester didn't let off some zingers of lines, but I didn't come away feeling that anyone had lea ...more
Terri
Nov 03, 2015 Terri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened-to, librivox
There was very little in this book to like. First off, the librivox recording was done by a woman with an affected, breathy, melodramatic voice. Following her reading was extremely difficult. Forster switches speaking characters without any "said" or "asked" or other words to denote the speaker. Therefore the reader needs to pause or change voices to show who is speaking and this reader did not.

As for the substance of the novel, it is depressing and discouraging. The main character is Rickie. H
...more
Erika
Feb 22, 2009 Erika rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, 20th-century
I love Forster. This novel is not as tidy as his others, but I liked it nonetheless. The ideas seemed to have more passion behind them, even if they weren't brought together with the same clarity as in the other books.
Persephone Abbott
“The soul has her own currency. She mints her spiritual coinage and stamps it with the image of some beloved face. With it she pays her debts, with it she reckons, saying, ‘This man has worth, this man is worthless.’ And in time she forgets its origin; it seems to her to be a thing unalterable, divine. But the soul can also have her bankruptcies.

Perhaps she will be richer in the end. In her agony she learns to reckon clearly. Fair as the coin may have been, it was not accurate; and though she k
...more
Candy Wood
This is not the journey that begins with a single step, but one from a Shelley poem, and the notes in this Penguin edition identify many literary references as well as places and connections to Forster’s life. Cambridge, the public school at Sawston, and Wiltshire (Salisbury and Stonehenge) are still pre-1914, with the kind of innocence that Philip Larkin observed did not survive the Great War. Still, relationships are complicated, some in ways that have not changed, and plot twists prompt the e ...more
astried
three stars

I'm not sure I like this Forster much. It's definitely less enjoyable than the Room with a View that first made me love his writing.

I don't know if I care much about how he portrayed love. Mind you, love was shown in the most sensible way. But all along I feel as if Forster was waging a war with love. He devilize Agnes a tad too much though he did slip a tiny caveat saying more or less it's not her it's just them that was the problem.

Also he preached a lot, directly, through the almig
...more
Christine
Aug 10, 2011 Christine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Heart-breaking and thought-provoking, this is vintage Forster.
Douglas Roberts
Sep 29, 2015 Douglas Roberts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I haven't read anything so rich in a long time. I had only checked off A Passage to India before this, a few years back, which was a great experience, and now I'm buzzing from this one I feel like perhaps Forster's books are what novels are supposed to be like. It's like looking at a painting where there's so much going on in every area, every delineation of form, every brushstroke, that you get swallowed up by it all. I only feel sorry for Agnes, a character made of flaws. She's not ...more
Katherine
Jun 28, 2009 Katherine rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
"Over the door there hung a long photograph of a city with a waterways, which Agnes, who had never been to Venice, took to be Venice, but which people who had been to Stockholm knew to be Stockholm" (8).
" 'I wish I could talk to them as I talk to myself,' he thought. 'I'm not such an ass when I talk to myself'" (14).
"...in the remaining space the gardener had contrived a little lawn where one coul dsit concealed from the road by a fence, from the neighbour by a fence, from the house by a tree, a
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 3 17 Oct 03, 2014 07:52AM  
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Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five
...more
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“It's not what people do to you, but what they mean, that hurts.” 55 likes
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