Sometimes I can handle stories of the idle rich, sometimes I cannot. This is one of the latter, where I really struggled to care about any of the characters, their rich, bored lives and their endless emotional struggles with being rich and bored, and having to deal with each other.
I can understand why this novel is so well regarded: it exposed the fraud of “keeping up appearances,” it is told in, what was, for the time, an extremely unconventional way, with what I assume is one of the earlier uses of the unreliable narrator technique. These things should be celebrated.
But I have a really hard time relating to these rich, religious, “proper” people and that makes it much harder to appreciate the literary techniques at use. Moreover, there is a strong hint of misogyny towards the women characters and Florence in particular. I understand that the narrator’s views are typical of the time, and he really does eventually label Edward a “villain,” but for much of the book it seems to be Florence who is the awful person, something that is rather hard to take, given that she is just about the only interesting character in the entire book.
Ah well, I’ve finished it. And I get why it’s celebrated. I just didn’t like it.
- Author: Ford Madox Ford
- Country: United Kingdom
- Language: English
- Genre: Novel
- Publisher: John Lane, The Bodley Head
- Publication date: March 1915
- Media type: Print (hardback and paperback)