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A Passage to India (1924)

by E. M. Forster

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,769120484 (3.76)538
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 by E. M. Forster (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: The man is brilliant! One should read all of his books!
  4. 40
    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
    Staying On by Paul Scott (KayCliff)
  12. 00
    Hindoo Holiday: An Indian Journal by J. R. Ackerley (SomeGuyInVirginia)
  13. 34
    The Jewel in the Crown [1984 TV mini-series] by Christopher Morahan (li33ieg)
    li33ieg: Similar period and themes
Asia (12)
My TBR (22)
1920s (4)
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» See also 538 mentions

English (113)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (121)
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)
Forster is one of my favorite authors. Many of his characters are drawn in the round. Those we sympathize with are flawed, few are fully unsympathetic. In this book, Ronny Heaslop, for instance, is one of the latter. It’s clear that even those who sincerely want to understand, to “connect,” to use the key term from another of Forster’s novels, Howards End, never will.
This one basic theme, the failure of British middle and upper classes to connect, plays out in all his novels, whether set in India, Egypt, Italy, or back home in England. In each locale, he is attentive to the scenery and weather, which he describes in precise, fresh, evocative terms without being flowery. He constructs interesting plots. In the case of Passage, the turning point—an accusation and arrest—comes almost exactly at mid-point. The last of three sections, Temple, is shorter than the other two, Mosque and Caves; it functions as an epilogue, set two years after the main events. As in the other two sections, misunderstanding abounds. Ironically, their clarification also signals the end of friendship between two men, one Indian, one English, even while it permits them to part on heartfelt, affectionate terms.
Finally, each of his books is replete with sentences so well-crafted they could stand on their own as aphorisms. For instance, this: “Ronny approved of religion as long as it endorsed the National Anthem, but he objected when it attempted to influence his life.”
A sad book, highly recommended. ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (1965)
  arosoff | Jul 10, 2021 |
When I read the book years ago, I was filled with self-righteous indignation. How could the British behave in the way that they did? This was my reaction then.

I picked this book up again, after reading E.M. Forster's "Aspects of the Novel", and I realized that he took us back in time to the days when writing was elegant.

The main incident revolves around a picnic at the Marabar Caves and a false allegation of molestation.

While relating the incidents up to the fateful picnic, subsequent events, and the courtroom drama (which, is the climax), there is an extended epilogue.
This is a tale of the British Raj - about the hypocrisy of the British in India, as well as the hypocritical and self-serving behavior of Indians as well.

It's also a tale of loss - of the loss of connections, and the superficial view that people take of them.

It's brilliant, a masterpiece. ( )
  RajivC | Jul 7, 2021 |
I often found the writing impenetrable-and therefore not an easy read. I also found the plot had little energy and to a large extent mundane. The novel certainly gave an interesting and somewhat shocking view of the attitudes of many of the British who lived in India during the Raj. Despite this none of the characters, British or Indian, male or female engaged any of my sympathy. Even the saintly Mrs Moore-why didn’t she do more to help her friend Aziz?-and Fletcher, who despite his enlightened views I found two-dimensional. I don’t think I will be reading anymore E M Forster-just my personal preference-when there are so many more books out there waiting to claim my attention. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
I picked this up on the recommendation of a friend who loved it, and I really struggled with it. There was some nice writing in it, and it picked up a bit starting about halfway through, but the earlier bits were tedious drawing-room style dramatization that really just doesn't do it for me. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 113 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (50 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Forster, E. M.Authorprimary 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
Simpson, WilliamCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stallybrass, OliverEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilby, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
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)
Quotations
"We must exclude someone from our gathering, or we shall be left with nothing."
Last words
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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)
British and native / In the dark of Marabar / Neighbours, yet distant

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 014144116X, 0143566385

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