Chrissie's Reviews > Where Angels Fear to Tread

Where Angels Fear to Tread by E.M. Forster
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really liked it
bookshelves: italy, classics, love, 2017-read, audible-uk, short, england, humor

This is my favorite by E.M. Forster. I gave A Room with a View three stars and A Passage to India four, but this is even better than that!

A love story that I love, and it is extremely short! I don't usually enjoy short novels. It is a classic worth being called a classic.

Forster captures different sorts of people and their respective ways of being. We have Harriet who is logical and straight thinking and Miss Caroline Abbott who wavers but recognizes the value of passion…..as well as its dangers. There is Gino Carella, an Italian that will throw you off your feet and charm you so you only see the stars sparkling in the heaven. There is Philip - British, class oriented but drawn to the charms of Italy too. Forster's characters are tempted and pulled and swayed and at the same time true to themselves. I had to marvel how Forster pulled this off in so few pages! One reads this for character portrayal and to find out how the love knots will be resolved. Who will end up with whom? Where and how? England or Tuscany, Italy. The time setting is the end of the 19th Century.

Forster captures different cultural tendencies beautifully, accurately, with a light touch and with humor. First he made me laugh at British, end of the 19th Century social mores peppered with clever observations. Then the characters caught me up and pulled me in. Finally Forster impressed me with his perception of human character. Relationships are not drawn in neat and simple lines, but in knots and tangles…..as in, I think, real life! It is this tangled mess and how the book concludes that I particularly like.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Edward Petherbridge. The beginning was almost impossible to decipher. If not stubborn you may just throw in the the towel. I'll say politely that he didn't destroy what IS a marvelous classic! The narration I have given two stars; it’s OK and not impossible to follow. I managed. I didn't give up, but it could have been LOTS better! I only want accents, exclamations and varied intonations if the author’s words remain clear. Just my personal point of view though, which may of course differ from others’.

I really enjoyed this book. It is close to amazing in its perceptiveness, in its ability to catch a snap-shot of how people do sometimes behave and in its humor.


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Reading Progress

March 18, 2017 – Shelved
March 18, 2017 – Shelved as: wishlist-f
March 18, 2017 – Shelved as: italy
March 21, 2017 – Shelved as: classics
March 21, 2017 – Shelved as: love
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: own-unlistened
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-read
May 17, 2017 – Shelved as: audible-uk
May 20, 2017 – Started Reading
May 21, 2017 – Shelved as: short
May 21, 2017 – Shelved as: england
May 21, 2017 – Finished Reading
May 18, 2018 – Shelved as: humor

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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Pink Oh this makes me even more interested to pick it up soon!


message 2: by Chrissie (last edited May 21, 2017 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Pink, I think you will like it. Maybe three rather than four? I am not sure.. The messiness of the relationships very much appealed to me; I am not sure others will appreciate this as much as I did. I want things messy b/c I think life is that way.

I have decided I must try another. Next will be Howards End. It doesn't sound quite as good though. It sounds more typical, like books others have written before.


Kandice I am so glad you liked this. It's my favorite Forster by far, and I love them all.


Chrissie Kandice , so far it is my favorite too! How is Howard's End? I am considering that or The Longest Journey. Which is better? Thank you for your help.


message 5: by Manny (new)

Manny I wish I had picked this one over A Room with a View. But I will have to read it eventually. I'm still working A Room with a View, which isn't bad but I can't claim it's superb, at least not so far.


Chrissie Well, we all make mistakes. You don't know until you try.


Belinda I didn't like it. I found it un
nuanced.


Chrissie Belinda, sorry to hear it did not work for you. The characters worked for me. For me they were not unnuanced, each just different from the others.


Belinda Chrissie wrote: "Belinda, sorry to hear it did not work for you. The characters worked for me. For me they were not unnuanced, each just different from the others."

Everyone has different opinions, which is good. I can see that Caroline and Philip are given different facets to their personalities, although Philip never gains strength, he's so wet. I didn't find it in Mrs Herriton, Harriet, even Lilia, and definitely not Gino. For me Gino ends up a stereotypical Italian. He's handsome, he's lazy, he's very masculine, but only his love of his child seems to redeem him. Yet I think he seems the sort of person who could be just as thoughtful as Philip (although he lacks the education).
Mr Herriton never got to be soft and kind even with Irma.
Harriet was always awful, which meant she was "unnuanced" for me.
Anyhow, that's just my take on it and possibly I'm not much of a Forster fan as I didn't like Passage to India much either.


Chrissie I appreciate hearing how you saw each of the different characters, one by one. You analysis is thorough and it has me thinking maybe I should reread the book; with your ideas in ny head maybe I would see the book completely differently. I would like to re-look at Harriet and Gino. You summation of Gino had me smiling. Re Harriet--I am a very logic oriented person, not that I necessarily like being that way, but I am. I am wondering if I Gino dazzled me to such an extent that I failed to see him properly.


Belinda Chrissie wrote: "I appreciate hearing how you saw each of the different characters, one by one. You analysis is thorough and it has me thinking maybe I should reread the book; with your ideas in ny head maybe I wou..."

I started to think that Gino had more depth because he tried to love Lilia in his own way and when she grew sadder he would sit and stare at her. He couldn't work out what he did wrong even though he neglected her and shut her up in his home. Yet the Herriton's basically did the same thing to Lilia. They narrowed down her choices and made her a bit desperate. Maybe if she hadn't been smothered by conventions and snobbery she'd not have dashed off and married someone who did almost the same thing to her.

Have you seen a Forster interview on youtube? He seems like he was a lovely man.


Chrissie Thanks for explaining your thoughts!

Nope, I have not seen Forster.


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