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The Forsyte Saga

(The Forsyte Chronicles #1-3)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  18,197 ratings  ·  844 reviews
The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy's monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte's marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a comfort- ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 872 pages
Published May 13th 1999 by Oxford University Press (first published 1921)
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Lisa Lambert Nicholson I wouldn't compare one author to another except that The Forsyte Saga is a great story......I would try Kate Morton perhaps? What is it that you like …moreI wouldn't compare one author to another except that The Forsyte Saga is a great story......I would try Kate Morton perhaps? What is it that you like about Rosamunde Pilcher? (less)

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Jun 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
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 o
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles #1-3), John Galsworthy

The Forsyte Saga, first published under that title in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize–winning English author John Galsworthy.

They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of a large commercial upper-middle-class English family, similar to Galsworthy's own. Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of the
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) by:
This is a titanic masterpiece of a multi-generational story of a fictional English family that spans the Victorian, Edwardian, and post-World War I eras. For the first one-hundred pages or so, I found myself having to frequently refer to the Forsyte family genealogical chart; however, by the end of the book I knew all of the characters and their place in the family intimately. Like all families, Galsworthy has created a world of very real and human characters in the Forsyte family; a family boun ...more
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Any fan of serious early 20th-century fiction
Note, Jan. 26, 2020: I just edited this review to insert an accidentally omitted word in one place.

As a kid growing up, my home town only could receive three TV stations (ABC, CBS, NBC). Our part of Iowa got a PBS station in 1968, and one of the first programs I was able to see on it was the BBC miniseries The Forsyte Saga ( ), starring Eric Porter and Nyree Dawn Porter, who had the same last name but weren't related. (I highly recommend that version, and not
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Rereading the book which you once loved, might be risky. On the one hand, you may repeat a delightful experience. On the other hand, the colours of butterflies, that you felt in your stomach years ago, might have faded away.

I was aware of this jeopardy when I decided to reread ‘The Forsyte Saga‘ by John Galsworthy. Because of the pandemic, I was yearning for something already tested, something which will let me forget a
Apr 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Galsworthy's classic is probably best approached in mid-life, when the truth begins to dawn that an Age, like Keats' joy, is only really sighted as it's waving good-bye. When youth is something we begin to refer to as an attribute we once possessed. When loss begins to carry as much outraging weight as the pursuit of an aim, or a dream, or a station. There is a quality of consciousness we enter into as we mature that is informed by resignation and grief, and it is this perspective to which Galsw ...more
Aug 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
“He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the small house, – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.”

There you have it. Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acquisitiveness and striving of the British upper-middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Man of Property

The Man of Property is the first book in what would eventually turn out to be the nine volume Forsyte Saga, the work for which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered. It was made into a TV series not so long ago, which is how I'd heard of it, but I hadn't read it until I picked it up to read in an airport recently in order to pass the time thanks to interminable flight delays. It really did quite nicely.

The writing is very much of its time - 1906 - and for those who are not used to
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fin de siècle art of the first and finest magnitude; I am floored. I must gaze a while longer upon this blue 💎 diamond before I can try to give it justice by writing a thorough review.

So much comes out of this, including novel treatments of love, art, marriage and the English bourgeousie, as well as what was apparently then (pub. 1918, and set 1880 on) a feminist viewpoint: a woman is not subjugated to her husband upon marriage, he cannot thereafter "have her" whenever he wants.

Really, and unex
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to ~Geektastic~ by: luck

I found The Forsyte Saga on the shelf of my local library a couple of years ago and it has been a decided favorite of mine ever since. While “saga” is not the first word to come to mind when thinking about the British upper middle class in the later days of Victoria, it is apt. The story is a multigenerational examination of family and tradition in a time of transition, and it examines the various institutions and ideas that were under the most pressure to change as the British Empire declined f
David Lentz
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The writing evident in this epic is masterful and engaging: it is even and substantive and elegant. The rich irony about the lengths that men strive to acquire property in all its forms and then find their acquisitions useless, meaningless and certainly not worth the price. Galworthy was focused upon property in so many different varieties: the sense of possession that men had of their wives in his time amid archaic laws about divorce; the building of a home that ends in unexpected expense in ch ...more
What a splendid family saga written by John Galsworthy.

The book covers the period between 1886 and 1920 and tells the story of the Forsyte's and their struggle to have the most successful life at that time.

This volume is composed by three books: The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let.

The first book describes the life of Soames Forsyte and his wife Irene. However, this marriage will have a lot of troublesome issues along the whole narrative. This will led to dramatic consequences for all For
Well, there was in life something which upset all your care and plans--something which made men and women dance to its pipes. And he lay staring from deep-sunk eyes into the darkness where the unaccountable held sway. You thought you had hold of life,
but it slipped away behind you, took you by the scruff of the neck, forced you here and forced you there, and then, likely as not, squeezed life out of you! It took the very stars like that, he shouldn't wonder, rubbed their noses together and flung
Mar 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves classics
Shelves: classics, favorites
I am so blown away by this book that I am almost speechless. What wonderful writing, and what a deft balance of plot line and character portrayal. Few authors get both perfect, but I think Galsworthy has. I was intimidated by the size of this novel, but it reads so well that the pages fly by you and the read is done before you ever want to let go.

Soames Forsyte is one of the least likable yet most pitiable characters I have ever encountered. He is smug and arrogant and driven by money and proper
Nov 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Drat. I see I lost the slip of paper where I write page numbers and the little notes for the book report. There are a few numbers scrawled on the inside back cover; page 785 has cricket, 808 the fixed idea, and there's a giant dog-ear folded from the bottom of the page. That would be a chapter I want to read again. I put off finishing it too. The book was left untouched at page 830 for an entire month. Didn't want to finish it. I had been through too much with them, especially the unloveable Soa ...more
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest works of literature, there's a reason why Mr. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this work. An epic saga of a single extended family which spans several generations, Galsworthy creates characters that are human and fallible, noble, kind and cruel. The story is deeply moving, funny, infuriating and completely compelling. This is a huge work, but, as with all great novels, the better it is, the more you want it to continue on and on. This one does! The Saga compr ...more
Took quite a while to come to terms with all of the characters and their relationship with one another in this epic tome. The three novels primarily centre around Soames Forsyte, his wife Irene and the house he contracts to build for her that would ultimately have such far reaching repercussions.

This novel has it all, memorable characters, loves lost and gained, drama, and yes melodrama. It's a novel of family ties, respectability and money.

Enjoyed the first novel very much but it was the final

Because of the ridiculously small font in my copy of this I actually read it on my Kindle in the three separate volumes (The Man of Property, In Chancery & The Forsyte Saga: To Let) it was originally published in. For me, the sum of the three books taken together adds up to way more than if you consider each book individually. I would definitely recommend reading them as one book.
The family saga of Forsytes, who at the beginning smell an intruder amongst them (Bosinney the architect, engaged to June), examines how the far-reaching consequences of a certain love affair molds each person and generation in its own way.

The solicitor Soames considers his wife Irene as his property, the way you do with beautiful paintings that you parade in front of others. The couple's marriage suffers from Irene's indifference, which Soames of course doesn't understand, because he doesn't se
Dec 29, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished! Took a year of picking it up, putting it down, etc. but with my new work-out routine finally finished this care of my Kindle. This was recommended to me by Mike, and considering the number of books he recommends, I had to get it and at least attempt it!

The book tells the tale of several generations of Forsytes; their failures, their successes, their families, their relationships, their thoughts, their worries and dreams. The saga contains multiple love relationships, some doom
Fiona Robson
May 24, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1001-books
“The Forsyte Saga, first published under that name in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes (intervening episodes) published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of an upper middle-class British family, similar to Galsworthy's own.[1] Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My reading practice has shown that no one can write about Englishmen better than the Englishmen themselves, and this book is prof that confirms my theory again. This book also confirmed that English literature is truly my favorite. Also, this is one of my dad's favorite books of all time, so it have extra value for me.

I will not say much about plot, just that characters are very, very good (indicator to me is that I do not love or hate any of them, and yet I love and hate all of them at the same
Apr 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
One of those books you want to back up, turn around and read again. Loved it!
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Forsyte Saga is an endurance read - a sometimes desultory ride through four generations of Forsytes, which makes me cherish the latitude literature has to tell stories at whatever pace it chooses. There came a point midway through the first book (the Saga is comprised of three, with two interstitial novellas) when I settled in and embraced the way this story was going to present the world of an extended family and the changing England around it, and the rewards of that experience, while subt ...more
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Britisher John Galsworthy spent the better part of his writing career detailing, usually with an ironic eye, the ups and downs of his fictional Forsyte family. This immense volume compiles the first three of those novels, with two "interludes" between the first and second book and the second and third, which aren't so much novellas as connective tissue allowing him to bridge the time between one Forsyte novel ends, and the next begins. As page-counts go, at nearly 1,000 pages this volume falls b ...more
Jun 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was a five star read for me until suddenly it wasn’t.

Chronicling three generations of an upper middle class British family it presents a lustrous portrait of the Victorian era bookended by personal restraint and societal constraints. At the center of it all is the hapless Soames Forsyth with his formidable commitment to the creation and perpetuation of familial wealth and position. Ultimately, this is an 850 page treatise on respectability set in quicksand.

Soames’ unreciprocated passion fo
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anglophiles and Lovers of Fine Literature
Shelves: 2007
This volume contains 3 full novels and 2 short stories that chronicle the lives of the upper middle-class Forsyte Family. It begins in 1886 at the height of Victorian England and takes us through the Boer War and World War I to 1920. It is the subtle way Nobel Prize winner Mr. Galsworthy brings us through this rough, transitionary time that makes this saga (and it is a saga) great instead of just good or interesting. The larger scope shows us the changing status of women from possessions to full ...more
Rick Slane
Almost amazing, it is a thought provoking soap opera. I have spoilers at Indian Summer of a Forsyte and in Chancery This period of English history seemed similar in a material way to the post WWII rise of the American middle-class and its deterioration since the mid 1960's. Just don't expect perfection it's not what I call literary-fiction but vastly superior to Poldark. ...more
Gitte - Bookworm's Closet
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes big books (and cannot lie)
The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good or bad – merely comic, or pathetic.

The Beginning: Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight – an upper middle-class family in full plumage.

The Forsyte Saga was an amazing journey. At first I found it a bit confusing because of the many characters, and there were parts I found a bit dull. But somewhere during the first part, it really got interestin
Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا
I don't know how many times I've watched this mini series; it's one of the best series ever. It's sad, heartbreaking, beautiful and so real. Not to talk about the fashion in it and the beautiful Irene, I remember watching it as a teenager with fascination and foreboding, loving Irene but at the same time feeling sorry for her, who would want her lot in life even with her beauty? I would love to own her mourning clothes from episode one, especially the one where she plays the piano when Soames pr ...more
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John Galsworthy (alias John Sinjohn) was an English novelist and playwright whose literary career spanned the Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian eras.

In addition to his prolific literary status, Galsworthy was also a renowned social activist. He was an outspoken advocate for the women's suffrage movement, prison reform and animal rights. Galsworthy was the president of PEN, an organization that sou

Other books in the series

The Forsyte Chronicles (9 books)
  • The Man of Property (The Forsyte Chronicles, #1)
  • In Chancery (The Forsyte Chronicles, #2)
  • To Let (The Forsyte Chronicles, #3)
  • The White Monkey (The Forsyte Chronicles, #4)
  • The Silver Spoon (The Forsyte Chronicles, #5)
  • Swan Song (The Forsyte Chronicles, #6)
  • Maid In Waiting (The Forsyte Chronicles, #7)
  • Flowering Wilderness (The Forsyte Chronicles, #8)
  • One More River (The Forsyte Chronicles, #9)

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