Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Passage to India- E.M. Forster

A Passage to India (Penguin Classics)A Passage to India by E.M. Forster

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best books I have ever read. I would give it a six star rating if I could. Forster is an amazing author and brings up some interesting tensions between England and her former empire in a way I had not previously been exposed to. Can't rave enough about this one.

This idea of an echo is fascinating to me. This inability to establish meaning until the event has past seems to be a main theme throughout the novel, and that can be seen especially through Aziz and his perspective on the friendship he had with Mrs. Moore, the English woman. The thought that "most of life is so dull that there is nothing to be said about it, and the books and talk that would describe it as interesting are obliged to exaggerate, in the hope of justifying their own existence" is profound (125).It seems depressing really, but there is something to this, especially in terms of the authenticity of travel writing.

Everything is always one sided, one limited perspective, and once you get something like this you are bound to see cropping and magnifying of themes that will make a good story. I am really interested in problematizing creative nonfiction as a genre in terms of being authentic, and I think this book not only has a good commentary on it, but it was also influenced by Forster's experience in India. This edition I really enjoy because it footnotes some of Forster's journal entries while he was abroad and where they have slipped into his work. Granted this is now a fiction work, but I wonder if he was making some commentary on the limit of his own experience throughout it.  It is something I keep in mind whenever I go through my journal entries and field notes of my latest adventures in Ghana, knowing that the lasting meaning will be something that I have yet to establish. 

As I have caught a little bit of a travel bug, I was slightly mortified to see how similar I felt to the young outspoken Adela Quested. Sometimes I worry that I want to see "India" and not "Indians" with every place I've targeted on the map (245). It is something I think a lot of people are guilty of, especially in the tourist industry. Something to be mindful of, that is for sure. 

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