David's Reviews > A Passage to India

A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
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's review
Jul 16, 2012

it was ok

A Passage to India E. M. Forster (1924) #25

August 8, 2007

After reading some of the high praise that this book has received and noting the top quarter rating on this list, I have come to the conclusion that this book is another example of a piece of literature that was brilliant at the time of it’s writing, but whose meaning has faded over the years.
This is a tale of a fractured India; politically, religiously, ideologically. Nothing really exiting happens in this novel, other than Fielding marrying the daughter of Mrs. Moore. That’s some high excitement. Even the main “event” of the story is a trial in which the defendant is accused of maybe touching a lady with ill intent, and the accuser is not even real sure if the whole episode really happened or not. The language of the novel is good, but not excessively beautiful, and the novel is somewhat (in my humble opinion) disjointed.
I guess what made (or makes, if this novel floats your boat) this novel so appealing was the interplay between the characters in the context of a colonial India that was about to fall apart. The last lines of the novel best described the whole feeling of the book. After Aziz and Fielding are reconciled, they discover that there is no place for their friendship in the present state of India and that even the natural landscape is against them by separating them and making them travel in a single line. The obvious racism (not necessarily from Forster himself, but by the characters that he creates) and the native backlash against the English point to a situation in decay. The English, as rulers, are obviously out of touch with the native people and, as is often the case, the natives get portrayed in a less than glamorous light.
Compared to the other novel about India that I have read so far on this list (Kipling’s Kim), this novel is darker and more serious, and has a better human element to it, but is still failed to really wrap me up in it. I get the feeling, though, that it might have had I been more educated on the subject at hand.

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