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A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

A Passage to India (1924)

by E. M. Forster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,180113478 (3.75)529
In this hard-hitting novel, first published in 1924, the murky personal relationship between an Englishwoman and an Indian doctor mirrors the troubled politics of colonialism. Adela Quested and her fellow British travelers, eager to experience the "real" India, develop a friendship with the urbane Dr. Aziz. While on a group outing, Adela and Dr. Aziz visit the Marabar caves together. As they emerge, Adela accuses the doctor of assaulting her. While Adela never actually claims she was raped, the decisions she makes ostracize her from both her countrymen and the natives, setting off a complex chain of events that forever changes the lives of all involved. This intense and moving story asks the listener serious questions about preconceptions regarding race, sex, religion, and truth. A political and philosophical masterpiece.… (more)
  1. 50
    Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Same author, different setting, same core themes
  2. 50
    The Raj Quartet, Volume 1: The Jewel in the Crown; The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott (FemmeNoiresque)
    FemmeNoiresque: Scott's The Raj Quartet, and particularly the relationship between Daphne Manners and Hari Kumar in the first novel, The Jewel In The Crown, is a revisioning of the charge of rape made by Adela Quested to Dr Aziz. Race, class and empire are explored in the aftermath of this event, in WWII India.… (more)
  3. 40
    Maurice: A Novel by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: The man is brilliant! One should read all of his books!
  4. 30
    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (lucyknows)
    lucyknows: You could use the theme of colonialism to pair The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver with Passage to India by E. M. Forster.
  5. 10
    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (Booksloth)
  6. 10
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (kiwiflowa)
  7. 21
    The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: These two novels bear close relationship in setting and circumstance.
  8. 10
    Natural Opium: Some Travelers' Tales by Diane Johnson (Anonymous user)
  9. 00
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (WildMaggie)
  10. 00
    Slowly Down the Ganges by Eric Newby (John_Vaughan)
  11. 00
    Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal by J. R. Ackerley (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  12. 33
    The Jewel in the Crown [1984 TV mini series] by Christopher Morahan (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Similar period and themes
  13. 00
    Staying On by Paul Scott (KayCliff)
1920s (2)
Asia (10)
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» See also 529 mentions

English (106)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (114)
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
Much has been written about Passage to India. Hundreds of writers had offered up their opinion on the classic. I won't bore you with the plot except to say India is at odds with British rule in every sense. It clouds judgement beyond reason, as most prejudices do. Indian-born Aziz is curious about the English and offers to take two British women to see the infamous caves of Marabar. My comment is Aziz acts oddly enough for me to question what exactly did happen in those isolated and mysterious caves?...which is exactly what Mr. Forster wanted me to do.
Every relationship in Passage to India suffers from the affects of rumor, doubt, ulterior motive, class, and racism. Friends become enemies and back again as stories and perceptions change and change again. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jan 31, 2020 |
Since starting this book, I've struggled to continue reading it. I repeatedly find myself picking it up, reading a few pages, not liking it, then putting it away and start another book.

Finally, after several attempts, I have now decided not to wrestle any longer with this book. It is not the right book at this time for me.
  BoekenTrol71 | Dec 22, 2019 |
A first class study of Colonial India and its effect on the rulers. The Indians are well drawn, the British as well, and the complexities of the situation are wonderfully explored. I am surprized so few Library Thingers have read it! ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 7, 2019 |
The tedious first hundred pages or so of A Passage to India wear down any goodwill a reader might bring to the novel, and though it improves thereafter it never recovers to a level that redeems it. The prose is never as good as it looks, being extremely overwrought, while the characters and dialogue are very dry. Author E. M. Forster breaks the 'show, don't tell' rule with his every sentence, particularly when narrating the social manoeuvrings between race and class and caste.

As for that celebrated plotline – the brown native falsely accused of a crime against an Englishwoman – it is rarely as gripping as it sounds. The reader is never invested in the characters, the social unrest in India is never palpable, and the mystery of what happened to Miss Quested in the cave is never satisfactorily resolved. "A mystery is only a high-sounding term for a muddle," Forster writes on page 58, and he is more right than he knows.

The book does have some useful things to say on British colonialism, though these are obscure for most of the novel and then expressed rather didactically towards the end. It is hard to say whether Forster's more general observations on India are correct, but I consider that the novels with the enduring messages always age well, and A Passage to India has not aged particularly well. ( )
  Mike_F | May 20, 2019 |
Excerpts from my original GR review (Apr 2010):
- 1924 novel, ..Modern Library has it #25 on its list of best 20th century English language novels. Couple of interesting asides: this was Forster's last novel, even though he lived until 1970. He was a popular BBC Radio broadcaster in the decades after the book's release. He began work on this novel in 1913.
- I give the author credit: he takes on the difficulties of colonial rule fairly straight on, admirable for the 1920s. The major themes are racial, class, and religious divides between East and West, and between Christians, Hindus and Moslems. The plot is fair, but was splintered by the author's hammering away on these themes. We are given every nuanced shift in intellectual attitudes between characters. So, I became irked, and once irked, it's hard to get me back on track entirely.
- In its day, this must have been an invigorating read in merry old England. I know this isn't contemporary lit, but even so, the adage of "show, don't tell" wasn't put in practice enough here. ( )
  ThoughtPolice | Nov 23, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 106 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burra, PeterIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dastor, SamNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Diaz, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magadini, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mishra, PankajIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Motti, AdrianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pigott-Smith, TimReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, Scott RussellAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilby, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Syed Ross Masood and to the seventeen years of our friendship
First words
Except for the Marabar caves--and they are twenty miles off--the city of Chrandrapore presents nothing extraordinary.
Towards the end of 1906 Theodore Morison, who until recently had been Principal of the Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh and now lived ay Weybridge, Surrey, was looking for a tutor in Latin for his Indian ward Syed Ross Masood, a young Moslem of good, indeed distinguished, family who was destined for Oxford. (Editor's Introduction)
The India described in A Passage to India no longer exists either politically or socially. (Prefatory Note)
Perhaps it is chance, more than any peculiar devotion, that determines a man in his choice of medium, when he finds himself possessed by an obscure impulse towards creation. (Introduction)
"We must exclude someone from our gathering, or we shall be left with nothing."
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Book description
A mysterious incident at the Marabar caves, involving Adela Quested, newly arrived from England, and the presumed guilt of charming and mercurial Dr. Aziz, are at the centre of Forster's magnificent novel of India during the Raj. Topical now, as in 1924, in its evocation of the dangers and ambivalences inherent in colonialism, as Forster said, it is 'about something wider than politics, about the search of the human race for a more lasting home, about the universe as embodied in the Indian earth and the Indian sky, about the horror lurking in the Marabar caves...'
Jacques Marchais original library book
Haiku summary
Grottes de Marabar/Mrs Moore à la mosquée/et l'Inde des Anglais/(tiercelin)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014144116X, 0143566385

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