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A Passage to India
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A Passage to India

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  34,549 ratings  ·  1,717 reviews
When Adela Quested and her elderly companion Mrs Moore arrive in the Indian town of Chandrapore, they quickly feel trapped by its insular and prejudiced 'Anglo-Indian' community. Determined to escape the parochial English enclave and explore the 'real India', they seek the guidance of the charming and mercurial Dr Aziz, a cultivated Indian Muslim. But a mysterious incident...more
Kindle Edition, 362 pages
Published (first published 1924)
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Sravya Bathula Personally,I feel like her engagement with Ronny created a sort of disillusion for her. Which in turn, gave her an overwhelming feeling and…morePersonally,I feel like her engagement with Ronny created a sort of disillusion for her. Which in turn, gave her an overwhelming feeling and constrained her. India is very humid, and so that adds to the pressure and feeling of being closed in, almost claustrophobic in a way. All the pressure just sort of pushed on her and created this sort of closeness/intimacy that she did not wish to have. So I think that feeling is what brought on the supposed "insult", not an actual physical male trying to mess with her. But this is just my viewpoint :]
I would really like to know what actually did happen in that cave though, from the author's perspective in writing the story. Or maybe he doesn't know himself. It could just be a "left to the imagination" thing.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erik Simon
Sometimes the idea of rankings is tedious and shallow, especially when it comes to novels, but this book has to be one of the twenty greatest books written in English in the last century. In addition to being a gripping, at times harrowing, story, the overall form of the book is perfectly constructed. That E.M. knew what the hell he was doing.
Kim

In some ways it's hard to believe that this was published in 1924, given the prescience Forster demonstrates in relation to the future of the British Raj. Towards the end of the novel, one of the central characters, Dr Aziz, effectively predicts that Indians will throw out the British when England is is involved in another war in Europe and articulates - albeit not in so many words - the need for Indians to identify as Indians rather than as members of their individual religious communities in o...more
Jan-Maat
In a novel with the line “a perfectly adjusted organism would be silent” it is no surprise that the centre of this cloud of writing is the idea of the difficulty, or the possible impossibility of communication and direct connection between people.

Instead understanding has to be intuitive and incommunicable, Mrs Moore knows nothing has happened but can’t convince her son, how she knows or how Professor Godbole knows about her and the wasp is unclear and if we don’t like telepathy as an answer the...more
Madeline
"The sky settles everything - not only climates and seasons but when the earth shall be beautiful. By herself she can do little - only feeble outbursts of flowers. But when the sky chooses, glory can rain into the Chandrapore bazaars or a benediction pass from horizon to horizon. The sky can do this because it is so strong and so enormous. Strength comes from the sun, infused in it daily; size from the prostrate earth. No mountains infringe on the curve. League after league the earth lies flat,...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jul 12, 2011 Shovelmonkey1 rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for literary nytol
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list
Written in 1924 this so called literary classic and 1001 book is set against the backdrop of the British Raj and the slow move towards Independence. This book has been showered with awards - I gave my copy of a good shake just to see if any of the awards had got stuck between the pages - although personally the only award I would be inclined to hand out for E.M Forster's most famous novel would be the highly coveted shovelmonkey1 pillow award for producing an epic snooze fest.

I read this book w...more
K.D. Absolutely
May 07, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (20
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, classics
Chandrapore, India during the British Raj in the 1920s. This is about a British young woman, Adela Quested falsely accusing an Indian doctor, Dr. Aziz of attempted rape. During the trial, Adela withdrew her lawsuit and admitted her mistake. The false accusation, the trial and the retraction further divided the nation between the white colonizers and the dark-skinned natives.

"Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet"" wrote Rudyard Kipling in his 1889-first published po...more
Chiara Pagliochini
« Abbasso gli inglesi, ad ogni modo. Questo è certo. Sgombrate, gente, e alla svelta, vi dico. Noi possiamo odiarci l'un l'altro, ma odiamo di più voi. […] Ci volessero anche centocinquantacinque anni, ci libereremo di voi, sì, butteremo a mare ogni maledetto inglese, e allora, » galoppò furiosamente contro Fielding, « e allora, » continuò, quasi baciandolo, « voi ed io saremo amici. »
« Perché non possiamo esserlo subito? » disse l'altro, stringendolo con affetto. « È quello che voglio. È quello
...more
Diletta
Cerchiamo di mantenere la calma.

Premetto una cosa.
Quando ho preso in mano per la prima volta questo libro, io e lui ci eravamo chiariti per benino. Della serie "tu non piaci a me, io non piaccio a te, cerchiamo di concludere il nostro rapporto nel modo più indolore possibile e col minor spargimento di sangue."
Pensavo che lui avesse capito il patto, e accettato. Infatti la prima parte scorre abbastanza bene, parlava di cose di cui non me ne fregava nulla, ok, ma pace, me ne ero fatta una ragion...more
David Redden
Aug 14, 2008 David Redden rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: Jill McKiernan
I thoroughly enjoyed A Passage to India and am now officially a Forster fan. Frankly, I'm not certain how I made it this far through my education without ever picking him up. I can't add much to what's already been written about this book, but I'll mention a few impressions anyway.

Forster tells a great story with enviable economy and style. Like a work of impressionist art, A Passage to India is superficially enjoyable, but the real treasure is found in what's not there. Rich, beautiful detail l...more
Komal
When I first picked up this book, I was 13, and expecting to be insulted by some white guys going on about how barbaric my culture and history were and how the magnanimous British civilized us all. I was, thankfully, wrong.

It follows Mr Fielding, Miss Adela, and Mrs Moor as they come to tour India. They are shown about by Dr Aziz, a poor Muslim, and Adela's fiance Mr Moor. The basic storyline is one of Adela and Mrs Moor touring India, but then Adela eventually convicts Dr Aziz of sexual harassm...more
Fionnuala
So easy going - and then wham!
Quentin Tarantino could learn a lot from E M Forster. He'd learn that there's no need to pile on the menace in the early stages. The shock, when it comes is much more effective if the reader/viewer has been led into thinking all is ordinary and relatively safe. Forster is a master story teller, and a true philosopher as well.
·Karen·
Naturally, any book written in 1924 is bound to offend a twenty-first century sensibility, steeped as we are in a consciousness of racial stereotyping. Just occasionally, it must be admitted, Dr Aziz is portrayed as childish and petulant, and phrases such as "Like all Indians..." grate on our ears, but all in all, Forster succeeds in exposing the fatal arrogance of the Anglo-Indians, the falsity of their more-British-than-Britain lifestyle, the misunderstandings that hamper cross-cultural relati...more
Heather
I completely related with one of the main characters in the book, Miss Questad. She accuses an Indian man of assaulting her while they are hiking in some caves (sorry if I just gave part of it away) and realizes later that she made a mistake. Her mistake brings out the worst of racial tensions and class distinctions. It reminded me SO much of my experience in Jordan a few summers ago when a Jordanian man at one of the tourist attractions was not very "gentlemanly". The laws in Jordan are a lot m...more
sologdin
Nutshell: racism temporarily defeated by means of more or less permanent sexism.

Novel promises to be an exercise in inverting baudrillardian dissimulation: “The streets are mean, the temples ineffective, and though a few fine houses exist they are hidden away in gardens or down alleys whose filth deters all but the invited guests” (3). That this is a colonialist’s perspective of colonized space in British India should not be irrelevant, and we might accordingly regard colonized India as a (dis?...more
Monique
One of the most complicated, difficult books I've ever had the misfortune opportunity to read. The only redeeming factor of this book was..... I fail to think of any. Well, it's a classic. I guess that's it.

The book was badly, awfully written. Most of the time I couldn't follow the dialogue, and I had to turn back a few pages to reread, because I'd realize I zoned off and didn't get a word that was written. The plot, likewise, wasn't so engaging. It felt like E.M. Forster had a one-time sojourn...more
Laura
Hailed at its publication as Forster’s masterpiece, A Passage to India explores the complex relationship between Indians and the colonial English, a relationship muddled by racism, cultural misunderstandings, and inherent religious and philosophical incompatibility. The essential question of the novel is whether it is possible for friendship to bridge the racial divide between the English and the Indians. The tragic events of the novel suggest not, or at least not yet, though Forster does offer...more
Michael
Jun 12, 2008 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a few
This is my first E.M. Forster book, and definitely will not be my last. His style seems to be a bridge between late Victorian and early modernist, and it is obvious that he is not quite sure which way to go. It is beautifully written, perhaps a little too beautifully written. The characters are fully formed, yet somehow leave you unaffected by the tight reign the author has on their every thought. Forster's take on the complexity of the racial situation in colonialist India is as fair-minded as...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
It is the early 1900s (pre-WWI) in British India, and a new arrival to the country, Mrs Moore, almost accidentally befriends a young Indian doctor, Aziz. Aziz is a cheerful, optimistic Muslim man who is determined to know the English occupiers on an equal footing, and Mrs Moore's friendliness and lack of prejudice only encourage his view that this is possible.

Mrs Moore's son, Ronny, is a government official, a district magistrate, and she has come in order to chaperone the young woman who might...more
Kathy
Beautiful writing. Describes the tension of Anglo-Indian relationships in British India and explores what makes friendships.
Joshua Rigsby
I almost gave up on A Passage to India early on. Forster takes a long time to build his characters, their worldviews, and the interrelationships among them before he touches a match to the story's inciting incident. By the time the plot finally begins to move it does so somewhat slowly, and the denouement takes a good while to come to a satisfactory conclusion.

That said, there are two things Forster does exceptionally well.

The first is depict the complexities Western attitudes toward the East...more
Teddy
A Classic of Epic Proportions!

First published in 1924, over the vast sweeping landscape of India under British rule A Passage to India examines the cultural differences between the Indians and the English.

As the novel opens Ms. Adela Quested and her potential mother in-law, Mrs. Moore arrives in Chandrapore India. They both have the desire to see the real India and not just hang out with other British citizens. Mrs. Moore becomes friends with a local, Dr Aziz who promises to show her and Ms. Que...more
Nikki
I'm not wildly enthusiastic about this book. It gives you an interesting view of India as a British colony, and some of the descriptions are lovely, but overall I found it quite dry and hard to read in anything but little chunks. The story itself isn't wildly inventive, of course: it reminded me a lot, at least around the middle, of To Kill A Mockingbird: a native is wrongly accused of assaulting a woman, the woman's part is taken by all, etc. It's not a new story -- of course not, since it coul...more
Jeffrey Saraceno
Although this book is claimed by many to be "A classic of modern fiction," I found it quite inaccessible and downright boring. It's as if Forster upended a dictionary, shook out all the words, and then rearranged them blindfolded. The action (what little there is) doesn't happen until you've made it halfway through the book (if you even last that far). Against my better judgment I suggest watching the movie, as it would be less of a time commitment, and might actually be enjoyable. But if you do...more
Lauren
Honestly, I can't believe I had never read this book before. I should thank Ginger and Katherine for wanting to read it together because I don't know when or if I would have ever gotten around to reading it. Forster is so magnificent. Next I should read his "Where Angels Fear to Tread."

How I managed to read my fair share of post-colonial lit (Gautam, it's fair to call this post-colonial lit, right?) and not read this is appalling. It is not only a beautifully written book, but is still a rather...more
Robyn
This book shifts underfoot a lot, clumps of prose I couldn't penetrate and then a paragraph of such exquisite insight that I was torn between getting up and finding a pen or staying where I was and re-reading it seven or eight times. In a way, it's prose verite: things are hectic, or boring and you're not sure who is talking or what the words mean, but then sometimes you hit a pocket where something makes so much sense that it seems like everything else must make sense too and then the moment is...more
Krishna
It is one of the finest works of fiction ever written. That too by a British colonial about India, a colony. I am in the middle of book, where the plot thickens after Dr. Aziz is arrested for molesting a British woman he was guiding to visit some ancient caves.
The hypocrisy of the Indians and the British, whenever they interact, is not hidden from the eyes of Forester. And he finds characters who become conduits to spray it in the novel. The distrust is mutual among them.
The need for the Colon...more
Tatiana
"A Passage to India" turned out to be quite an interesting read. I can't say Forster is now one of my favorite writers, very often I don't understand him, but this story of colonialism and racial tensions was surprisingly intense. This was not a novel about India (as I originally thought), but rather an exploration of cultural differences that can't be overcome.

Written decades before India finally gets rid of its British oppressors, "A Passage to India" demonstrates a great insight into a very t...more
Ali
First published in 1924 – A Passage to India weaves together two complex themes, the friendship between men of different cultures and the colonialism and racism that continually divided those two cultures in British India. E M Forster is a severe chronicler of the British Raj in this novel, although neither British nor Indian come out on top in his story: Forster does not appear to take sides.
When Adele Quested arrives in British India with Mrs Moore - the mother of the city magistrate Ronnie H...more
Tripp
Forster has perhaps the lightest hand when it comes to the omniscient point of view. This plus the amused, witty tone of his voice in part accounts for the wonderful music found in his sentences. His descriptions of interiors, cities, villages, and nature are exquisite. Very early on, he is describing the blue quality of the sky over Chandrapore, and concludes with this:

"By day the blue will pale down into white where it touches the white of the land....But the core of blue persists, and so it i...more
Carre Gardner
Tonight, after final page of A Passage to India:

Me: I've finished it.

12-yr-old Son: Was it good?

Me: Well...it wasn't bad. I'm glad I read it.

Son: And now you never have to read it again!

Me: Right. I'm glad I can say I read it. And there were some good things in in.

Son: Plus, you never have to read it again!

Me: That too.

So...3 stars? It's such a complex book, full of wonderful allegory about the relationship between turn-of-the-century Britain and the India she occupied, although truthfully I rea...more
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86404
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
More about E.M. Forster...
A Room with a View Howards End Maurice Where Angels Fear to Tread The Machine Stops

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“Adventures do occur, but not punctually.” 113 likes
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