The Longest Journey
By: E.M. Forster
Rickie Elliot, a sensitive and intelligent young man with an intense imagination and a certain amount of literary talent, sets out from Cambridge full of hopes to become a writer. But when his stories are not successful he decides instead to marry the beautiful but shallow Agnes, agreeing to abandon his writing and become a schoolmaster at a second-rate public school. Giving up his hopes and values for those of the conventional world, he sinks into a world of petty conformity and bitter disappointments.
I first read E.M. Forster’s The Longest Journey a few years ago amidst crazy papers, applications and tests. Before that, I had been eyeing this book for a long time; can’t remember exactly how I came across this title (apparently it’s the least-known of his novels yet his personal favourite) but the plot intrigued me. Because I never wrote a review post about this novel the first time around, the following entry is a mix of a review and a personal commentary about the book. So without further ado, contains some spoilers ahead!
All Our Worldly Goods
By: Irène Némirovsky
Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and the family patriarch, the tyrannical industrialist Julien Hardelot, provoking a family feud which cascades down the generations. This is Balzac or The Forsyte Saga on a smaller, more intimate scale, the bourgeoisie observed close-up, with Némirovsky’s characteristically sly humour and clear-eyed compassion. Full of drama and heartbreak, and telling observations of the devastating effects of two wars on a small town and an industrial family, Némirovsky is at the height of her powers.
Okay, firstly I’ve been very busy this semester with schoolwork and course readings and research and all the rest but despite of this, I’ve managed to read quite a bit (my solace from all my work). One of the books I’ve read quite recently was All Our Worldly Goods. It’s my first book by Irene Némirovsky, whom I heard wonderful things about through her unfinished work, Suite Francaise. I’ll try to keep this review as spoiler-less as I can 😉
So this is more of less the last hurrah of summer for me; my classes start tomorrow and as I’m starting my Master’s program, I will be a) posting sporadically in answer to Musing Mondays, Teaser Tuesdays and Booking Through Thursdays and b) reading a lot less in the coming months (in comparison to the usual school year—this past summer was, er, different).
The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet
By: Colleen McCullough
Lizzy Bennet married Mr Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr Bingley – but what became of the middle daughter, Mary? Discover what came next in the lives and loves of Jane Austen’s much loved Bennet family in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off from an international bestselling author Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, twenty years on, Jane has a happy marriage and large family; Lizzy and Mr Darcy now have a formidable social reputation; Lydia has a reputation of quite another kind; Kitty is much in demand in London’s parlours and ballrooms; but what of Mary? Mary is quietly celebrating her independence, having nursed her ailing mother for many years. She decides to write a book to bring the plight of the poor to everyone’s attention. But with more resolve than experience, as she sets out to travel around the country, it’s not only her family who are concerned about her. Marriage may be far from her mind, but what if she were to meet the one man whose own fiery articles infuriate the politicians and industrialists? And if when she starts to ask similar questions, she unwittingly places herself in great danger?
I picked this book up on a whim the same day I bought Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife. I thought it was an interesting premise that the book would focus on Mary, given what little she involved she was in Pride and Prejudice (in comparison to her other sisters); not to mention after Lizzie and Jane, I had a soft spot for Mary precisely because she was rather marginalised from the rest of the family. The blurb above also intrigued me so I figured why not? Having finished reading it…uh, yeaaaahhh…
TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
– Grab your current read
– Open to a random page
– Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
– BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
– Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
– Should Be Reading
My teaser for this week: “On top of the table Neil noticed a selection of small china figurines that Alice collected, adding a homey touch to the room. Last Christmas, Neil had bought her one, a little shepherdess leaning forward to gather a stray lamb, and Alice had been so happy that he had thought she might kiss him, but she hadn’t.” – p. 19, Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips. I finally got a hold of this book now that it’s in paperback and have started reading it—am looking forward to it! 🙂