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A Passage to India
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1001 book reviews > A Passage to India - Forster

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Kristel (kristelh) | 3821 comments Mod
Read 2015:
Forster delivers a great work of literature that both entertains and makes a social statement of racism. It explores relationships of the British and the Indian but also Christian, Moslem and Hindu. The time period is the Indian independence movement of 1920. Forster develops characters so that we can sympathize with both their positive and not so positive characters. The story starts with an older and younger woman who have traveled to India, the older woman is able to love the Indian and the younger is in love with India but not the Indian. What Forster does well is show the reader through his characters how communication and cultural differences really can be miles apart even when seemingly talking the same language. I enjoyed it, would recommend it to anyone who likes historical and political novels as well as books set in India. I also have to say, I read this with whispersync and the narrator for the version I listened to was Sam Dastor. I give him a C for effort but overall, his women's voices were all "old and whiny", some of the Indian male voices sounded like the whiny women voices but at least he tried.


message 2: by Diane (last edited Dec 28, 2019 09:49PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 1918 comments Rating: 3.75 stars

I was so overdue to read this one. It is the story of an Indian doctor who is falsely accused of sexual assault while touring a cave with two white women. It is an interesting exploration of the misconceptions and prejudices between the colonizer and the colonized during the British Raj of the early 20th century. Reminds me of another book I have read recently where it doesn't matter if your innocent or right in your actions, if you are the among the colonized, the odds are stacked against you in the eyes of the dominant culture.

While I did enjoy this, I will admit that it dragged terribly in parts. The main parts of the story occurred over very few pages. You just had to wade through a lot of fluff to get there. Still, I am glad to finally have read it.


Jamie Barringer (Ravenmount) (ravenmount) | 424 comments I have had this book on my shelves for a few years, and on my TBR for longer, so it was high time I read it(which can be said for a lot of books, of course). I found the first third of this novel very slow, but once the plot started building it got better. In this story an Indian doctor invites two British ladies on a day-trip to some nearby Jain caves. The British in India can sense that tensions are increasing against their continued occupation of India, so they are quick to assume the worst whenever any Indian acts outside normal parameters. The idea of White women alone with Indian women makes almost every British person in the story uneasy, so when the younger of the two women gets confused and disoriented, and is 'rescued' by another British lady, her muddled account of having been assaulted is immediately latched onto by the British community as a whole. The Indian doctor is accused of sexual assault, is arrested, and is brought to trial, despite not having any proof against him.
This book reminded me a bit of Cry, the Beloved Country, in the way White women are portrayed in colonial settings, as if they are helpless and prone to mental illnesses and breakdowns, totally dependent on their menfolk to protect them and keep them in line. It is an interesting contrast with Isak Dinesen's Out of Africa, and other accounts by women of life as a female colonist in a non-White region. I also found it interesting to compare the Indian society portrayed in this book with that portrayed in A Suitable Boy, or in The Golden House(Salman Rushdie).
I am not sure if EVERYONE needs to read this novel before they die, but it was good, and not too long. It is also an interesting read because it was published just about 20 years before India became officially independent. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads.


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