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The Longest Journey

3.48 of 5 stars 3.48  ·  rating details  ·  1,118 ratings  ·  100 reviews
In this searching tragicomedy of manners, personalities, and world views, E. M. Forster explores the "idea of England" he would later develop in Howard's End. Bookish, sensitive, and given to wild enthusiasms, Rickie Elliot is virtually made for a life at Cambridge, where he can subsist on a regimen of biscuits and philosophical debate. But the love-smitten Rickie leaves h ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published December 21st 1993 by Vintage (first published 1907)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,528)
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Missy
Jun 25, 2008 Missy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Ashley
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
Lisa (scarlet21)
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
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
Nell  (andnellwrites)
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
Steven
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.
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
Erika
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.
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
Heart-breaking and thought-provoking, this is vintage Forster.
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
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
Katherine
"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
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
Andres
In my attempt to read Forster books in order of their being written, I deviated a bit by reading A Room with a View before The Longest Journey, only because I wanted to read the well-known one first. I could tell before even picking it up that Journey had the reputation of being a lesser work and now, after reading it, I can agree it deserves that reputation.

What I had really liked about Room was the humor that wound its way through the story, a type of humor that I guess you would call ‘Forster
...more
Helen Kitson
Rickie Elliott is a sensitive young man with an inherited condition (a lame leg) that makes him feel unfitted for marriage or fatherhood. He is quite at home at Cambridge engaging in philosopical debate (although Forster repeatedly stresses the fact that Rickie - who has literary aspirations - is not clever), but 'He has no knowledge of the world'. Whilst at Cambridge he receives a visit from Agnes Pembroke, a rather shallow young woman who is revolted by the sight of Rickie's built-up shoe.

Rick
...more
Marsha
Wearing its rustic heart on its sleeve, “The Longest Journey” is not so much a novel as a treatise on the beauty and triumph of Nature as opposed to the futility of man’s devotion to rules, scholastic pursuits and the preciousness of the indoor salon.

The main action revolves around three very different men: deformed Rickie Elliot, scholarly Stuart Ansell and rough-and-ready Stephen Wonham. All three men are flawed in their way but Stephen Wonham is made to seem the best of them simply because he
...more
Briynne
This is hardly Forster’s best, but I wanted to read it to complete a collected works edition I have of him (which, inexplicably, leaves out A Passage to India). It’s an early novel (possibly first?) and it shows quite plainly. There are moments of the matured, developed Forster, but not quite enough. I think the most true and believable character is actually the rather invidious Mr. Pembroke. He's a wretched man, but he's perfectly drawn in a way that only further demonstrates how unperfectly de ...more
janet
It is a rather desperate story, but with a remarkable ending. At this point in his career, he didn't have the style of the rest of his work. Though Maurice is famous as a novel which is about a gay relationship, this book expresses much more passionate appreciation and affection for men between men. For one thing, there is a scene with a fight that is quite sexually charged. Also, there isn't really any deep feeling in Rickie and Agnes' marriage. When she is first introduced, there is a feeling ...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
Kristina A
I read this in my quest to read as much as I could by E.M. Forster. An interesting novel -- far from perfect, but haunting and very much worth reading. I can see strands of several later novels in it, most particularly _Howards End_ and _Maurice_. All three novels are on some level about how social convention kills the spirit of beauty.

Unlike the later novels, THE LONGEST JOURNEY suffers from a lack of forward motion, to my mind, as well as a somewhat muddled idea of the characters; while I enj
...more
Jill
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
Jack
This is the fourth Forster book I have read recently, and i would recommend perhaps reading Howards End or A Passege to India before starting up with this one, as brilliant as it is. I was unable to put down this book! There are many twists and turns, more than any other of Forster's novels - just when you think you understand it, it twists again - for which I'm sure a comparison can be made for the world around us. As that comparison suggests, this book is almost inexhaustible in its thematic r ...more
Debra
Orphan Ricky Elliot is a bit of a social outcast while studying at Cambridge. His lame leg doesn’t help his status, however Ricky has a few friends, hopes to be a writer, and is pretty optimistic about the world. As time passes, optimism and dreams are given a dose of reality, and how he copes with reality is at the heart of this book.

The Longest Journey is E.M. Forster’s second novel, and although better than the first, the author intrusion, abrupt transitions and jumpy changes in point of view
...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Alternate book cover 3 16 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
More about E.M. Forster...
A Room with a View Howards End A Passage to India Maurice Where Angels Fear to Tread

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“It's not what people do to you, but what they mean, that hurts.” 49 likes
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