A passage to India

She felt increasingly (vision or nightmare?) that, though people are important, the relations between them are not, and that in particular too much fuss has been made over marriage; centuries of carnal embracement, yet man is no nearer to understanding man.

Why all this marriage, marriage? . . . The human race would have become a single person centuries ago if marriage was any use. And all this rubbish about love, love in a church, love in a cave, as if there is the least difference, and I held up from my business over such trifles!

 

My love for this book knows no bounds! It’s sensitively and beautifully written with fantastic characters and is everything, well, everything it should be. The quote above is sadly the only one I saved but there were a fair few that really resonated with me.

The surreal recurring echo which plagues Adela Quested and seems to recur in Mrs Moore’s madness and throughout the book to other characters reminds me a lot of the echoing horse hoofbeats that gave me goosebumps recently when I was watching John Hurt play Caligua in I, Claudius. It’s a dreamy book, and some scenes are written so perfectly that it’s possible for them to become as tangible a memory for the reader as one’s first day at school, or travelling in a new country, or whatever. I’m thinking in particular of the description of the wasp on the clothes hook, of the amazing festival of Krishna described in the last part of the book and of┬áMrs Moore’s meeting with Aziz in the Mosque. I can tell you exactly how warm and velvety dark and peaceful the air was in the Mosque that night, how it smelled faintly of flowers and of water and of the street outside and how all of the sounds were hushed and echoing at the same time. Anyway I don’t believe that there is a soul alive who wouldn’t get something out of this book, and seeing as I am living in a post colonial country myself at the moment it’s particularly poignant.

I am so addicted to E M Forster’s writing now that I instantly started reading A Room with a View, which is very sweet and romantic but not as profoundly affecting as A Passage to India – in fact it reminded me of Vanity Fair and a few Georgette Heyer novels, maybe also a bit of Northanger Abbey. I’m going to read Howards End next. It’s so cool, such a wonderful surprise at this stage in my life to find an author I’d always vaguely dismissed as dull (I’m really not sure why, I think I thought he had a dull name) to actually turn out to write in such an engaging and accessible way.

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