Petra X's Reviews > The Forsyte Saga

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1237196
's review
Dec 27, 15

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, reviewed
Read in February, 2011

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 out a guide I could afford as I didn't want to join a tourist party and although previously my travels had been on my own, I wanted to leave the towns, the river boats, roads and really penetrate the jungle and obviously I couldn't do that on my own. I was lucky enough to find an Indian who had been a tour guide but was now returning to his village on a lake several hundred miles away. He spoke English, Portuguese and Xingu and was happy, for a smallish fee, to take me along.

And this is where the Forsyte Saga comes in. Travelling by small boat, bus, river boats and sometimes walking miles to reach another place on the red laterite road to get to another tributary and another boat, several days later we reached the village. During that journey there there had been long periods of just waiting while trees were chopped down to bypass huge potholes - ones big enough to have 6' Victoria Regina water lilies floating in them - and I read the only book I brought, the 800+ page Forsyte Saga. Despite it being a big book, it wasn't really heavy as the pages were tissue thin. Which was good, because as I read them I ripped them out and used them. Tissue indeed!

Later in the village, which was about 40 houseboats and Indian houses on stilts spread out around a lake that took a motorboat over two hours to go around, I was shown the local variant of toilet tissue. It was a largish, quite thick leaf whose furriness made it very soft and when crushed it released a very soothing, slightly scented liquid, a natural body lotion. I did learn the name in Xingu but never in English. I wish I could remember what it was because it was so much nicer than any toilet tissue I have ever used and I would grow it in pots in the bathroom.

So 5-stars to the Forsyte Saga for a brilliant story and being so damn useful in a time of great need.
125 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Forsyte Saga.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-50 of 91) (91 new)


message 1: by Gill (new)

Gill My father-in-law had a similar use for the bible, when in prison during the war as a conscientious objector. It was the only book the prisoners were allowed and had nice fine paper.


Petra X M and G wrote: "My father-in-law had a similar use for the bible, when in prison during the war as a conscientious objector. It was the only book the prisoners were allowed and had nice fine paper."

Gosh, did they really put people in prison for that! Wasted labour. In Israel they send to farms or put them in the police force or some alternative employment.


message 3: by Gill (new)

Gill Petra X wrote: "M and G wrote: "My father-in-law had a similar use for the bible, when in prison during the war as a conscientious objector. It was the only book the prisoners were allowed and had nice fine paper...."

As he was a builder he was offered to do war damage for the government, but would not take it on as war service. I can't explain it better because I didn't really understand it. He was jailed for a year.


message 4: by Gill (new)

Gill A marvellous thing to have done, Petra! (the Amazon particularly rather than the use you made of the Forsyte saga. ;-)


message 5: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Another great review. I love coming across your reviews they're always entertaining and intelligent.


Petra X I seem to have a very rude person following me around making personal comments on my reviews. I wonder who it really is and why? This is the third this week (and the second on this review).


Donna someone jealous who never went up the Amazon or read the Forsythe Saga.


message 8: by Miriam (new)

Miriam Wow, Live "tissue paper" potted plants! That is such a great idea. Wouldn't it give you fresher air in your home, as well?


Petra X Miriam wrote: "Wow, Live "tissue paper" potted plants! That is such a great idea. Wouldn't it give you fresher air in your home, as well?"

All-in-one toilet problem solver! Not quite. As far as I remember it was a very delicate perfume, hardly there at all, my memory isn't too good on that point. However, I definitely remember the feeling of those soft, furry leaves... toilet bliss!


message 10: by Miriam (new)

Miriam I was thinking of the photosynthetic process increasing the oxygen levels, but you're right, it probably wouldn't be perceptible.


Petra X Miriam wrote: "I was thinking of the photosynthetic process increasing the oxygen levels, but you're right, it probably wouldn't be perceptible."

I don't think toilet-paper leaves would have quite a strong enough effect! But I do remember my mother always taking flowers out of bedrooms at night as they increased CO2 but putting them back in the day for the oxygen.


Donna I am really enjoying this book!


message 13: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm I liked it too. And now I know how to deal with all my yellowing tomes. I'll never have to buy tissues again.


Petra X Gary wrote: "I liked it too. And now I know how to deal with all my yellowing tomes. I'll never have to buy tissues again."

It's not that soft, except you are in great need of tissue. I really wish I could remember the name of that leaf (whose name I thought might be exotic but only translated to bum-wiper leaf) as it was the best thing ever.


message 15: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm I'm on pins and needles waiting for this info...


Petra X Gary wrote: "I'm on pins and needles waiting for this info..."

I never found out what it was. There was also a medicine man who gave me a recipe for weight-loss that he said was so effective it mustn't be taken for too long. It was true that no-one (except a lady with no legs) was overweight so maybe it worked. I wrote down the recipe and had it translated but no one ever knew what the herb, with only a Xingu name, was.


message 17: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm Maybe the lady had legs before she took the medicine. He didn't tell her where she'd lose the weight. Lucky you never found it!


Petra X *sucks teeth*


message 19: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm That doesn't sound like Lolcat. (view spoiler)


Petra X Gary wrote: "That doesn't sound like Lolcat. [spoilers removed]"

What is a Lolcat?

I'm rereading this thread and I realise you have a very, well not sick exactly, but ummm 'different' sense of humour Gary ;-)


message 21: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm Thank you! What a nice thing to wake up to. (That explains why my dreams are so strange.)


Petra X Gary wrote: "Thank you! What a nice thing to wake up to. (That explains why my dreams are so strange.)"

What does? What do you dream of that is .... strange? :-)


message 23: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm My "different sense of humor" keeps me amused at night. I'm usually interacting with dead-or not quite dead-relatives in a variety of locations, some more exotic then others. One of my greatest assets is the ability to sleep 9-10 hours a night. People who are more productive might see this as an enormous waste of time, but for me it's an entertaining alternative to a daytime existence that is normally quite predictable.


Petra X Gary wrote: "I'm usually interacting with dead-or not quite dead-relatives in a variety of locations, some more exotic then others...."

Do you advise the not-quite-dead relatives of their imminent demise?


message 25: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm That depends on the dream. Sometimes a bit of persuasion can backfire.


Petra X Gary wrote: "That depends on the dream. Sometimes a bit of persuasion can backfire."

Gives you a heads-up on influencing who they should leave their loot to though :-)


message 27: by Petra X (last edited Sep 15, 2013 05:10AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Petra X Harsh wrote: "I'm a fluff expert. There is nothing I don't know about our little feline friends. You need lessons..."

Yes, well, put that on a piece of toilet paper and wipe your bottom with it.


message 28: by Diane (new) - added it

Diane This review is so much fun, Petra! Good job.


Petra X Diane wrote: "This review is so much fun, Petra! Good job."

Thank you. I have a persistent troll on it, I think it's the same one. For two years now! Some little person needs to get a life.


message 30: by Dolors (new) - added it

Dolors Funny Petra, I added this novel in my TBR pile today. Magic serendipity or capricious chance?
In any case, I'm glad I see the 5 stars, otherwise it would have been easy to draw misleading conclusions seeing the use you made of your copy of this book! :)
Jokes aside, your review reminded me of my recent trip to Perú and the adventures my copy of War & Peace had to undertake along with me.
Fantastic memories to store for the forthcoming cold and long winter...


Petra X I hope War and Peace was soft and soothing, the Forsyte Saga scored well for that! Actually it was a brilliant book, very well drawn characters you could identify with. It was less heavy than a classic but a great deal more intellectual and well-written than the average family saga. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


message 32: by Susieville (new)

Susieville I saw this on PBS and loved it. Time to read the book


message 33: by Ivonne (last edited Sep 15, 2013 08:30AM) (new)

Ivonne Rovira Wonderful review and an even more amazing adventure!

I read books in the Forsyte Saga 30 years ago and love them. I really need to read them again! Thanks for the nudge.


message 34: by Florence (Lefty) (new)

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh I'm not sure which is more fun, your review or the posted comments. If I did allow myself regrets it would be that I've not travelled enough - seriously - to boat up the Amazon! Odd's are you'll never discover the name of the toilet-paper plant - shame, I'd try growing it too. Like Gary I've recently discovered the joys of oversleeping and other self-indulgent behaviour. “Laziness and good nature often go together.” My house is messy, my garden full of weeds, and I can't seem to bring myself to really care:)


message 35: by Pete (new)

Pete daPixie .” My house is messy, my garden full of weeds, and I can't seem to bring myself to really care:)
It's called going with the Flo!


message 36: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm Somehow your reviews never die...they have nine lives, at least!


Petra X Gary wrote: "Somehow your reviews never die...they have nine lives, at least!"

I'm not quite sure what you mean by that Gary, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt! I do tend to rewrite old reviews though. I rarely edit so when my attention is drawn to one again, I often think it doesn't reflect what I really wanted to say so I change it, sometimes to the extent it really is a new review, sometimes not that much.


Petra X Florence wrote: "My house is messy, my garden full of weeds, and I can't seem to bring myself to really care:)..."

What you mean is, your house is organic rather than anally regimented and your garden is organic too, contributing to the wild flower bank and giving a home to all the birds and insects that might be poisoned off by those aggressive gardeners who use chemicals and plant flowers not native to your area.

Inaction can be so praiseworthy in this 'green' world of ours.


message 39: by Gary (new)

Gary  the Bookworm Phew...I benefit from that doubt. My remark was intended as a compliment. Your ever-expanding fan base keeps your reviews alive. As Florence pointed out, the reviews and the comments are fun.


Petra X Oh thank you! I thought you might have meant something entirely different. What happens is someone makes a comment, likes or trolls an old review, so my attention is drawn to it. Sometimes I read it and think this doesn't say what I want and rewrite it or otherwise edit it.


message 41: by Florence (Lefty) (last edited Sep 17, 2013 06:32PM) (new)

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh I know I'm not alone - GR's bug-ridden right now but it's hit & miss when it comes to notifications & emails on comments posted on reviews, sometimes I get them, sometimes I don't - it's starting to annoy the crap out of me(: It may even drive me into my garden to take my frustration out on the weeds, sans chemicals of course. Thanks Petra, hadn't thought of that, a handy excuse. When my neighbours complain about my dandilions I will just come back at them all puffed up and self-righteous that at least I've gone green.


message 42: by Florence (Lefty) (new)

Florence (Lefty) MacIntosh Pete wrote: ".” My house is messy, my garden full of weeds, and I can't seem to bring myself to really care:)
It's called going with the Flo!"


HAH! I have heard that before - but I still like it:)


message 43: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon L That was a fascinating story...

So is the Amazon a beautiful place to visit?
And in regard of some of the comments, have you been to Israel?


Petra X The Amazon is beyond words like beautiful, it is transcendent. Yes I've been to Israel.


message 45: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon L wow. it seems like you really visited any place on this earth.

have you enjoyed Israel?


Petra X I have travelled a lot. I used to sail.
Israel is marvellous, but politically I think it could do a lot better! I'm one of the dual-state people. Jerusalem is up there with Venice as uniquely beautiful cities.


message 47: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon L I'm glad you liked it. And you are right. :)

I had the unfortunate luck of landing on the airport next to Venice and not visiting Venice when I was in Italy.


Petra X Right about what? (I have to know, this is so rare, I am such an expert at being wrong!)


message 49: by Sharon (last edited Sep 19, 2013 11:32AM) (new) - added it

Sharon L That politically we could do better. :)

Expert at being wrong? I find it hard to believe.


message 50: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon L Yeah, you are right about the above, and history and feelings are just really complicated and some people keep on adding woods to the fire, So you find it hard to let go and try to get along even when deep down that'swhat you really want.

Tel Aviv. :) We have a bubble if you heard about it :P so I hear the argument of "you don't know what it's like" alot.


« previous 1
back to top