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The Man of Property

(The Forsyte Chronicles #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  3,713 ratings  ·  225 reviews
The most prized item in Soames Forsyte's collection of beautiful things is his wife, the enigmatic Irene. But when she falls in love with Bosinney, a penniless architect who utterly rejects the Forsyte values, their affair touches off a series of events which can only end in disgrace and disaster.

John Galsworthy tackles his theme of the demise of the upper-middle classes w
Paperback, 364 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Wordsworth Editions Ltd (first published 1906)
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Paul Bryant
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
The first couple of chapters overwhelm the humble reader with Too Many Damn Characters, all of whom appear to be 75 years old. To get this pack of Forsytes into your head, then, you may consult the family tree helpfully printed at the front of the book, where you will see that the original Jolyon Forsyte had TEN children

Ann (Aunt Ann)
Jolyon (Old Jolyon)
Julia (Aunt Juley)
Hester (Aunt Hester)

Some of whom have seven or eight of their own and so on.

But my advice
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

I remember the late BBC television adaptation of this book - and presumably one or more of its sequels - being shown on television when I was a young teenager. I didn't watch it, probably because it was aimed at the grown-ups and as a thirteen year old I wasn't much of a fan of bonnet-and-long-frock drama series. A shame really, because if the television series was as good as this book, it must have made very fine viewing indeed.

This is the first novel in what ultimately became a nine novel, mu
Sep 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As an English child of the sixties there were a number of sides to choose: Beatles or Stones? Mods or Rockers? Irene or Soames? Everyone in our street had a view. Feminists backed Irene, traditionalists (bigots) were for Soames. Men backed Soames, women, Irene. Men who had watched the BBc were for Irene because Nyree Dawn Porter reached heights of grace and beauty that slowed the blood, then quickened it. I was only 10 and didn't really know what they were talking about. I've just read the book ...more
Michael Cabus
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Justice, there is no justice for men, for they are forever in the dark"

In some novels, the author's admiration for their creations is obvious; in varying degrees, a novelist will let you in on who is their favorite, sometimes annoyingly so (as much as I liked the Harry Potter books, the refrain of "Harry, Ron and Hermonie" that constantly began chapters became, dare I say, tiresome).

Here the reader doesn't get the sense that Galsworthy really admires any of his subjects, expect perhaps for Old
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: english
Set in London in the late 19th century, this is the first volume in a trilogy (not counting the interludes) describing the evolving fortunes of the Forsyte family. All of them, at least in this first part, more or less subscribe to the same 'family philosophy': property (get cheap and keep). Not unlike many other English, then as well as now, worrying about property ladders, 'buy to let', and what not.

Not too much happens, but it is always surprising and oftentimes funny, especially when circum
Sep 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He had long forgotten how he had hovered, lanky and pale, in side whiskers of chestnut hue, round Emily, in the days of his own courtship. He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spet 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 .“

I know I read this in my late 20’s or early 30s, but I don’t remember
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: overdrive, audio
This is the first book of the nine volume Forsyte Saga. I didn't watch the tv series so I had no particular expectations about this book but I liked it a lot. The story of the large Forsyte family is told in the third person with irony and wit. The central event is the affair of Irene Forsyte with the young, impoverished architect Bosinney and how her husband Soames handles the affair (not very effectively), however the upper middle class clan of Forsytes is full of interesting members. I loved ...more
Emilia Barnes
It's not a book I'd recommend to everybody - whether you enjoy it or not is simply dependent on whether you like this style of story or not. One in which not a person, but a family is the protagonist. And one in which everything progresses quite slowly. That being said, it's still an excellent book, and one the message of which is still valid and important today. I was particularly struck by Galsworthy's surprisingly progressive attitude. It's obvious that while he satirises the Forsytes (not ve ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books, g1000
A fabulous start to the trilogy The Forsyte Saga. It's rather refreshing to be reading about the upper middle class; my literature in the past has tended to focus on either the aristocracy (or at least the upper class) or the working man/poor. It makes sense as at this time the middle class was growing and, perhaps, very understandably they were obsessed with money and 'property'. It was this that a man strived for, to increase his prosperity and secure a place for his family. Education and cult ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is early 1967 and my mother got hooked up on the Masterpiece Theatre production of The Forsyte Saga. For 26 weeks she watched that show and followed that family. She also read the books, and as a boy of 14 I had no blooming idea why she would do that! Now, 51 years later I have figured it out!! I just finished book 1 of this Saga and will be diving into the rest. A well-written family story about the Forsyte's and all their relations. Lot of questions come up in book 1. Why did Irene marry So ...more
I've just reread this for the third/fourth time, and loved it unreservedly again. The Nobel Prize winners often seem inaccesible to me, but not so Galsworthy. I am again enthralled, pulled in to this very real story of real people with very human failings and foibles. I feel for poor Soames, the villain of the piece, who is emotionally crippled, recognising and desiring beauty, but only as a possession, and thus bound to destroy his own happiness and that of others around him. I would love Old J ...more
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: ath-stacks
My mother loved this book, perhaps because my father's family was the spitting image of the Forsytes. Mercifully, she was no Irene, although my father did bear a certain pale resemblance to Soames.

I wish that Galsworthy had retained a better editor, or had listened to his editor better. During the death of Old Jolyon, his eyes "twinkle" so often that I expected a voice-over by Carl Sagan. Galsworthy bears down so heavily and obviously on the materialism of the Forsyte clan that this reader found
Dec 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
My first read of 2015, was also the first book in one of my year-long reading challenges. The Man of Property is the first book in The Forsyte Saga. I have read the first volume of The Forsyte Saga before, a very long time ago, but so many years and so many books have flowed under the bridge since then, that I had little memory of it. I was quite glad to be coming to it almost fresh, and I am now firmly hooked, and eagerly anticipating the next instalment. As Liz and Karen are reading this too, ...more
“When a Forsyte was engaged, married, or born, the Forsytes were present; when a Forsyte died — but no Forsyte had as yet died; they did not die; death being contrary to their principles, they took precautions against it, the instinctive precautions of highly vitalized persons who resent encroachments on their property.”

The Man of Property is the first instalment in the multi-generational saga of the Forsytes, an upper middle-class English family, and it is an excellent novel. Galsworthy begins
Jan 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Kraai
Nov 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 1900s, the-best
The English novel is about Time, Love and Money. Some people say that these three themes are what all novels are about.
But Money is the topic we are the most dishonest about. It's usually treated with indirect glances and allusion, kind of like Hollywood sex scenes from the 1950s.
This book's contribution is that the author is able to find a way to talk about money a little more directly. He does this by splitting himself, between his family's moneyed life and his liberal education (Money sends i
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
I blame the superb TV mini-series for partially spoiling my reading experience this classic, probably I was expecting too much. I loved the adaptation and I decided to read the book to see how the author explored the intimate relationships within the Forsyte extended family and how incompatible temperaments can lead to marriage dissolution, as it is in the case of Soames and Irene.
I was not disappointed by Galsworthy’s style and his descriptions of the characters’ weaknesses and their family re
What a tragic story! Can't wait to see what happens in the next book!
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Galsworthy is an old-fashioned writer - almost Victorian in his style - so his writing might be hard for the modern reader. However, I would recommend that any reader would persevere with this heart breaking story of love, betrayal and loss.

The Forsyths of this saga are a large upper-middle class English family living comfortably in London's West End. The many members meet regularly at Timothy Forsyth's house to exchange news and family go And there is much to gossip about in this family.

Young J
Cristina  Berenguer Millanes
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
It is a very nice book, sometimes a bit slow and with parts that seem that have no meaning for the story, but that in the end round it up. It tells a very romantic story. However, I found annoying that between the synopsis of the book and the family tree, you already know most of the important events that are key to it.
Roger Pettit
Jul 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
I seem to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to novelists of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. I am not keen on the work of Anthony Trollope and I have struggled in the past with the writing style of George Eliot (see, for example, my review of 'Silas Marner'). I was hoping that 'The Man of Property' by John Galsworthy, the first book in his famous series of stories known as 'The Forsyte Saga', might help to remedy the situation. But I regret to say that it didn't. It's dull and turgid and ...more
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Somehow, my original review of this book disappeared. This is the first book in a series about the Forsyte family, a wealthy family of property. The men seem to love only property and view all their possessions as property to have and to hold. This includes their wives and families. This certainly is not a family you would wish to be a part of. Soames wants to build a house for his lovely, but cold, wife. The architect falls in love with the wife and an affair ensues leading to tragedy. It is un ...more
Meirav Rath
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
I heard this book was part one of a series of a "soap opera" books. But I needed to air my brain after a series of heavy or non-entertaining books, so I figured some light-heartedness will do me good.

Not that this book is "soap opera"ish or too light-hearted, but it's fun and nice to read and above all - very, very witty and snappy. Glasworthy lashes at his characters' flaws mercilessly and doesn't spare his mockery on any old foolish habit and thought process any of his characters have.
Plus wo
Gabriela Francisco
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The style of writing sucked me right in. I did not expect to enjoy my first Galsworthy this much, and now I simply have to read the rest of the saga.

What I love is that, despite the difference in centuries and continents, I still see human nature as described by Galsworthy among the people around me, in modern-day Manila. And isn't that a mark of a truly universal writer?
Ann T
Not my cup of tea. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the latter half. I will not be reading the additional 8 volumes in the series, too much for me.
Laura Tenfingers
This was a good story with much social commentary. Too much? Unfortunately I read it during one of those times when my mind was half mush and as a result I was only able to read about 20 pages a day. This made it feel like very little story and lots and lots of wordyness relating to the social setting. I just wanted the soap opera.

I think the book is good but I wasn't in the right headspace for it. I decided to quit after this first installment but I'm pretty sure I'll be back to read the rest
Gopal Vijayaraghavan
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
As stories go, there is nothing new in the tale of passion driving a man to his destruction. But "The Man of Property", the first book of the " The Forsyte Saga", by John Galsworthy is more a critical look into the family of Forsyte, an embodiment of Victorian middle class, whose test is exhibited in “ the power of never being able to give themselves up to anything soul and body and the 'sense of property'. “. It narrates the tragic tale of the doomed passion of Bosinney, engaged to June Forsyte ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm decidedly a modern fiction reader. This book has genuine merits, but my enjoyment factor is low.
Galsworthy is an amazing writer, on to the next book in the series. I am sure the Forsytes have a great deal more to teach me!
Steve Lindahl
Mar 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Man of Property is the first book in The Forsyte Saga, a trilogy by John Galsworthy. Galsworthy won the Nobel prize in literature for his body of work with this trilogy sited as the best example of his “distinguished art of narration.” His author page states that in addition to his work as an author, Galsworthy was also a “social activist. He was an outspoken advocate for the women's suffrage movement, prison reform and animal rights.”

There is an agenda in Galsworthy's writing, which I admir
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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)
  • 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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“His natural taciturnity was in his favour; nothing could be more calculated to give people, especially people with property (Soames had no other clients), the impression that he was a safe man. And he was safe. [...] How could he fall, when his soul abhorred circumstances which render a fall possible - a man cannot fall off the floor!” 3 likes
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