Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Review: A Room With a View
Author: E.M. Forster
Published: Bantam Classics (July 1, 1988)
Genre: Fiction, Classic
Paperback, 264 pages
A classic tale of British middle-class love, this novel displays Forster's skill in contrasting British sensibilities with those of foreign cultures, as he portrays the love of a British woman for an expatriate living in Italy. One of Forster's earliest and most celebrated works.
When I first started this book I had some trouble getting into it. The language, the conventions...I just felt like I was missing something. However, before long I became entranced by Forster's writing and the story of this young woman trying to find her place in the world and love to go with it.
Forster's descriptions and the way the story leads off, the young and old each with their own set of conventions, really sets the tone for Lucy trying to discern herself and where she fits in. When we meet Cecil and learn about his views and attitudes towards women and certain types of society, we see he is condescending, set in his ways and very conventional. He doesn't allow for free and easy thought or discussion. Cecil feels Lucy needs to be watched and schooled in the ways of "proper" society. Lucy must be taught it think and speak appropriately.
Whereas George thinks women should be on equal footing with men. Women are as free thinking and knowledgeable as the rest of the population and should be allowed to make their own decisions. Lucy should be George's equal in his eyes, but not in Cecil's.
Once home in England, Lucy begins to realize the deeper meaning of her experience in Italy. The stifling conventions and conversations at the pensione are not what she wants and expects in life. The sense of freedom she felt with George and his father exploring Italy, that is what Lucy wants. She also begins to see Cecil's true nature as he interacts with her family. This behavior is unacceptable to her. Lucy begins to finally discover her wants, needs, and feelings, thereby taking control of her own life on her terms.
This was a delightful novel and I can't believe I waited this long to read it. Forster's writing enabled me to picture the characters and their emotions quite clearly. I even chuckled to myself a few times when remarks were made in the story. I will definitely be placing the rest of Forster's novels on my TBR!
My Rating: 95/100
Challenges Met: TBR Challenge 2009, Romance Challenge 2009, Royal Reviews Romance Challenge 2009