Friday, January 2, 2015

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

I'm heading to India for vacation a week from today. It's so surreal! In light of the trip, the first book I finished in 2015 is A Passage to India by E. M. Forster. I liked the book, and thought it was more eventful than I anticipated. More eventful, definitely, than Howard's End, which I listened not more than three months ago but cannot remember. As I tend to feel about most books, I wish I had studied this in school. The echo, wasp, and caves were all recurring and had obvious secondary meaning as symbols and motifs, but I didn't quite get them on my own. The version of the book I read even had all the wasp passages highlighted and I couldn't quite find the meaning. This book may entice me to check out SparkNotes.

I also found some of the writing really quite lovely in terms of the ideas and how they are presented. Here are four of the passages I flagged. Even though they're old ideas, there's something so new about them. Maybe they're just easier to connect with this way.

If this world is not to our taste, well, at all events there is Heaven, Hell, Annihilation--one or other of those large things, that huge scenic background of stars, fires, blue or black air. (201)

The annual helter-skelter of April, when irritability and lust spread like a canker, is one of her comments on the orderly hopes of humanity. (204)

But it struck him that people are not really dead until they are felt to be dead. As long as there is some misunderstanding about them, they possess a sort of immortality. (248)

He had built his life on a mistake, but he had built it. (296)

I wish I had read this book faster, because I would have so enjoyed the opportunity to compare British-Indian affairs in this with those in my favorite mystery, The Moonstone. Alas, I am slow, and the Wilkie's work is long, and I do not want to abandon my book on the trip, so I will not be reading it right away. I've packed some others that I don't mind setting free if I need more room in my luggage. (Yes, yes, that's what e-readers are for, I know. But I don't want to hassle with all the cords and conundrums of technology while traveling in a country where my first priority is packing toilet paper.)

As a final note, totally love this cover of the book! Definitely better than the edition I read.

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