Myridian's Reviews > The Forsyte Saga

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
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's review
Nov 09, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classic, fiction, e-book
Read in November, 2009

This book follows the Forsyte family through the Victorean and into the post-Victorean era. It primarily follows Soames and his wife Irene. The book comments on the British upper middle class, the principles of ownership, and the ways in which beauty affects individuals with different natures. Soames represents the desire for ownership in its purest form, while Irene represents beauty. One of the problems I had with this book is that I felt it was too harsh on the upper middle class. The name Forsyte is put forward as a stand-in for any upper middle class individual, and the grasping, unimaginative nature is assumed to be characteristic of all such individuals. I happen to think that good business acumen and creativity and empathy are not mutually exclusive in the way that Galsworthy portrays them. Another thing that annoyed me is the sense that Galsworthy portrays love as an uncontrolable force that people are subjected to. Frankly I think that's BS, and an excuse that Western culture frequently uses for selfishness. All of those criticisms aside, Galsworthy's prose is beautiful, the emotional reality of his characters is striking at times, and the plot moves forward in a way that never left me bored.
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Quotes Myridian Liked

John Galsworthy
“Love is not a hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind. A wild plant that, when it blooms by chance within the hedge of our gardens, we call a flower; and when it blooms outside we call a weed; but, flower or weed, whose scent and colour are always, wild!”
John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

John Galsworthy
“Men are in fact, quite unable to control their own inventions; they at best develop adaptability to the new conditions those inventions create.”
John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga

John Galsworthy
“Youth to youth, like the dragon-flies chasing each other, and love like the sun warming them through and through.”
John Galsworthy, The Forsyte Saga
tags: love, youth

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