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A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

A Passage to India (original 1924; edition 1999)

by E. M. Forster

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8,37689371 (3.78)457
Title:A Passage to India
Authors:E. M. Forster
Info:Amereon Ltd (1999), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:Classics, British Lit, College

Work details

A Passage to India by E. M. Forster (1924)

  1. 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)
  2. 50
    Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Same author, different setting, same core themes
  3. 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.
  4. 41
    Maurice by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: The man is brilliant! One should read all of his books!
  5. 21
    The Jewel in the Crown by Paul Scott (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: These two novels bear close relationship in setting and circumstance.
  6. 10
    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (Booksloth)
  7. 00
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (WildMaggie)
  8. 00
    Staying On by Paul Scott (KayCliff)
  9. 00
    Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson (kiwiflowa)
  10. 00
    Slowly Down the Ganges by Eric Newby (John_Vaughan)
  11. 00
    Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal by J. R. Ackerley (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  12. 23
    The Jewel in the Crown [1984 TV Mini-Series] by Christopher Morahan (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Similar period and themes
1920s (3)
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English (83)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (90)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
It was about time I got to this classic and a classic it is. It's so vivid and shares the perspective of both England and India so well that I'm surprised it was written so long ago. Dr. Aziz is accused of offending a British lady, Miss Quested at the Marabar Caves but there is also misunderstanding from Dr. Aziz with his friend Fielding - his only British defender at the trial. There is a lot of exploring of India here (the entire book never leaves India), though Dr. Aziz makes an interesting (yet cynical) point that the British only wish to explore India to conquer it. Dr. Aziz is somewhat open to having British friends in the beginning of the book (with certain people anyway) but that changes after the misunderstandings. The book touches on culture, class, race, religion. Dr. Aziz has to be one of the earliest fully developed Indian characters and from only a British perspective, the book may have disappeared long ago. Great characters, great settings and great writing. Yep, it's a classic. ( )
  booklove2 | Aug 13, 2015 |
Language is lyrical and wonderful! ( )
  Nero56 | Jul 12, 2015 |
Forster delivers a great work of literature that both entertains and makes a social statement of racism. It explores relationships of the British and the Indian but also Christian, Moslem and Hindu. The time period is the Indian independence movement of 1920. Forster develops characters so that we can sympathize with both their positive and not so positive characters. The story starts with an older and younger woman who have traveled to India, the older woman is able to love the Indian and the younger is in love with India but not the Indian. What Forster does well is show the reader through his characters how communication and cultural differences really can be miles apart even when seemingly talking the same language. I enjoyed it, would recommend it to anyone who likes historical and political novels as well as books set in India. ( )
  Kristelh | Jun 25, 2015 |
If you're white and you dislike this book, I immediately will disregard your opinion. ( )
  megantron | Jan 2, 2015 |
On the positive side, E.M. Forster's A Passage to India is populated by many complex and realistic characters. Not just main characters like Fielding, Mrs Moore, Miss Quested, and Dr. Aziz, but even rather minor characters like Godbole are fleshed out and given depth. Dr. Aziz especially is made into a fully realized character by Forster, as he not only has his virtues and vices, but numerous misfortunes and failings spring from them both so that he makes an interesting focal point for the narrative. The second half of the book would have been rendered both less entertaining and less effective if Dr. Aziz was a purely virtuous character, but fortunately for readers the narrative doesn't make Aziz anything close to an angel. It does succeed in making him feel like a real person. This realistic feel is also one of A Passage to India's main strengths. While the events that occur at around the halfway point of the book relies on an improbable series of events and coincidences, Forster still manages to write it in a way that doesn't feel artificial. Writing obviously manufactured situations that don't feel artificial is an impressive accomplishment.

On the negative side, Forster's writing is frequently boring. Even when he's writing about exciting events like a car crash or a parade or a riot he somehow manages to create a passage that is utterly without energy or tension. This is a short book, but the writing did so little to engage me that it felt like a substantial tome. Another negative is that, while I complimented the book's cast of multidimensional characters, that multidimensionalness doesn't extend to many of the British occupiers of India. Most of them are just racist buffoons, even the marginally less shallow Mr. Turton has his perspective and the reasoning behind it explained in a single sentence. Ronny is the pro-occupation character given the most development, and even he feels like a half-baked sketch. He delivers weak arguments and oscillated between "bland" and "jerk" as the story required.

On the stranger side, two things: the first is that I found it to be a strange choice for Forster to include as a plot point caves that seemingly mess with British people's brains. One cave basically turns someone into a nihilist within ten minutes when previously they seemed pretty well adjusted, another cave causes an echo to plague someone's mind for months. Strange stuff. Another thing on the stranger side to note is that while Forster was obviously trying to promote tolerance and denounce the British occupation of India with this book, it's not clear how similar he thinks European and Indian people are: Forster identifies "suspicion" as some sort of inborn quality for "orientals" and it isn't clear if he thinks that there can be true understanding between people from such different cultures.

While A Passage to India draws into question whether understanding across different cultures is possible without putting forth an answer, Forster ends the book with a clear statement that friendship between people of different cultures is possible (although such friendship may be plagued with misunderstandings). To reach true friendship, though, the occupier-occupied relationship would have to end. A good message, though I could have done without Forster spelling it out for me so bluntly. For a book that also explores understanding of different cultures but which is far more engaging I recommend The Other City by Michal Ajvaz. A Passage to India is a bit dull in comparison, though not a bad book by any means- you just have to be able to deal with the bog of Forster's prose. ( )
  BayardUS | Dec 10, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Magadini, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sanders, Scott RussellAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary 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.
"We must exclude someone from our gathering, or we shall be left with nothing."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

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...'
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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)

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4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014144116X, 0143566385

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