David's Reviews > Awakening & to Let

Awakening & to Let by John Galsworthy
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's review
Mar 06, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2008
Read in March, 2008

Volume 3 takes place between May and October of 1920. Beginning with the chance meeting of Soames's daughter, Fleur, and Jon, son of Irene and young Jolyon, their romance unfolds over the summer, only to founder inevitably on the rocky remnants of their parent's troubled entanglement. With the role of both Montagues and Capulets being taken by the estranged branches of the Forsyte family, Galsworthy sketches the doomed romance of Jon and Fleur sensitively and with great sympathy, even as his updates on the other members of the family provide wry commentary on developments in society at large.

By story's end young Jolyon is dead, the family secret is out, and Jon understands the choice he has to make. So Fleur must content herself with marriage to Michael Mont, Jon and Irene head for British Columbia, and the great house at Robin Hill is put up to let. Fittingly enough, the story closes with Soames in the family mausoleum, having just buried Uncle Timothy, the last Forsyte of the previous generation. Despite his occasionally barbaric behavior as the anti-hero of what has gone before, we are left to feel sympathy for the tormented Soames, because, despite his status as a man of property:

... only one thing troubled him, sitting there - the melancholy craving in his heart ..... He might wish and wish and never get it - the beauty and the loving in the world!

The trilogy was just as satisfying second time around as when I first read it, years and years ago.

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