By: E. M. Forster
I have a confession. I read A Room with a View two and a half times before I finally got through it.
That’s not to say it’s a bad book.
But it is v.e.r.y. British. 1908 British.
It’s all about propriety and impropriety. There’s a little bit of feminism and an even smaller bit of philosophy and religion. It’s funny and certainly satirical, but it’s still a little opaque to those of us who don’t quite understand high society, aka me.
I had to read a few passages twice, go back and check. Totally miss that something happened, think something happened, only to find out it never did happen. That kind of confusion.
I think this is partially intentional.
The first time around, I read six chapters (and the sixth chapter is quite the crucial chapter!) and then it was due back to the library. So I listened to the whole thing on tape….. at work. Aka I heard passages hear and there, but missed vital chunks. So when I finally reread it, I enjoyed it much much more. Just understanding the major players and where the story is going helped me infinitely.
I really like this kind of literature. I like reading it out loud and getting immersed in a world I don’t quite understand, the extravagant settings and stifled emotions and somewhat predictable plots. Think Downtown Abbey, not quite Pride and Prejudice. (PS – there’s a 1985 movie version of A Room with a View with an all-star cast if you want to skip the elaborate language in favor of the elaborate costumes.)
So if you’re a Brit Lit fan, take it on. But it’s certainly not for everyone.
If you’re a fan of A Room with a View, here are some books to try:
(for more by Forster)
Howards End by E. M. Forster
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster
Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster
The Longest Journey by E. M. Forster
(for other Brit Lit classics)
Emma by Jane Austen
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
The American by Henry James
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
(for more modern Brit Lit)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
Ground Rules by Renee Swann
Life and Times of Jesse James by Frank Triplett
The Story of King Arthur and His Knights by Howard Pyle