Piyangie's Reviews > A Room with a View

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster
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it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite-classic, own-library, brit-lit

A Room with a View is a story of love; a story of self-realization of a young woman; and a story of the Edwardian English society still governed by strict Victorian values. This is my first experience with E.M. Forster and I’m well rewarded.

Written in the beginning of Edwardian era, Forster critically exposes the cultural restrictions, class difference and rigidly maintained social status that had swallowed the English society. The story is set up in England and Italy and Forster with his crafty and witty writing style, draws comparison between English cultural rigidity and Italian cultural relaxation.

The opening of the book is a scene in a pension in Italy, where a group of English tourist who, being in a foreign country, were still divided by class. There was the assumption of George Emerson being a porter just because he works in the railway, although he actually is a clerk. And he is out rightly considered a cad because of his “lower” class and somewhat relaxed behavior to those who are stifled by convention. The old Emerson who speaks out his mind freely is considered vulgar by the “respected” English. Although civility is maintained on the face of it, the Emersons are ignored and isolated for the most part because of the highly revered concept of “class difference”. I was really struck by the severity of this division and enjoyed Forster’s exhibition of displeasure through his witty writing.

The focus of the story is a young woman named Lucy and her journey of finding both herself and love. It is not an easy journey, as she has to hurdle through strong social barriers. The inner struggle that she goes through is the struggle of young men and especially young women in the Edwardian society, being torn between strict conventions and emerging modern opinions. Forster is a radical. He mocked the Victorian perceptions in the old generation that still held strong and supported the view of mixed class marriages in the wake up of a new middle class which was steadily brought forth by industrialization.

However after finishing the read, there is this nagging feeling in me that perhaps, I have not pealed all the layers that were laid out; perhaps I had missed out something, for Forster has this astonishing ability (which I can only compare to that of Virginia Woolf) to keep you wondering whether you really, really understood it.

Overall, I enjoyed the read very much. It is short but complete; it is not perfect yet heartfelt; hence the five stars and a promotion to “my favorite classic shelf”.
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Reading Progress

July 3, 2017 – Shelved
July 3, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
August 31, 2017 – Started Reading
August 31, 2017 –
page 51
September 4, 2017 –
page 102
September 7, 2017 –
page 158
September 10, 2017 – Shelved as: favorite-classic
September 11, 2017 – Finished Reading
November 10, 2017 – Shelved as: own-library
February 16, 2018 – Shelved as: brit-lit

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by Jennifer (new) - added it

Jennifer Loved your review, Piyangie! I think I need to move this to the top of my list.

Piyangie Thank you, Jennifer. It is really a great book. Hope you will enjoy as much as I did.

Celia I loved the book AND your review. Aren't classics the BEST?

Piyangie Thank you, Celia. Yes - classics are THE BEST! :)

message 5: by Michael (last edited Sep 14, 2017 10:40AM) (new)

Michael Thank you for a great review. I've always been "on the fence" about this one but your review may have inspired this reader to give it a shot. Cheers!

Piyangie You should, Michael. I'm sure you wouldn't be disappointed. And thank you for your compliment. 😊

Kevin Ansbro Superb review, Piyangie!
Forster subtly lampoons the superciliousness of the era's English upper classes in foreign climes.

Piyangie Thank you, Kevin. Indeed he has. That is the beauty of it.

message 9: by Lesle (new)

Lesle I enjoy your review!

Piyangie Thank you, Lesle.

message 11: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth This is on my (physical) shelf, but I haven't read it yet. it sounds great!

Piyangie Ah, you have to give it a go. A wonderful book!

Serian Oh yes, I definitely empathise with the feeling that you've missed something and didn't really understand it!

Piyangie Serian wrote: "Oh yes, I definitely empathise with the feeling that you've missed something and didn't really understand it!"

Thank you, Serian. I'm glad I'm not alone there. :-)

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