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Next Up: A Passage To India

I’ve never read A Passage To India. But, after reading the premise of the novel, it sounds like what you might get if you moved the plot of To Kill A Mockingbird to India.

An Englishwoman accuses a well-respected Indian doctor of assaulting her, and all hell breaks loose. The racial tension between the English, who have recently occupied India, and the Indian residents.

Sounds like an intriguing book.

Here are some quick facts about A Passage To India and E.M. Forster:

  • The novel was published in 1924 and is the oldest novel on the Time list.
  • In addition to appearing on the Time list, A Passage To India is ranked 25th on the Modern Library’s Top 100.
  • A 1984 film based on the book, starring Judy Davis, Victor Bannerjee, James Fox, Peggy Ashcroft, and Alec Guinness won two Oscars.
  • The Marabar Caves, prominently featured in the novel, are modeled on the Barabar Caves of Bihar.
  • Forster is the author of numerous short stories and novels, including A Room With A View, The Longest Journey, and Howards End.
  • A Passage To India was the last novel written by Forster while he was still living. He died in 1970 at the age of 91.

Interesting final fact there. From 1924 until his death in 1970, Forster never published another novel.

Considering he published 5 novels between 1905 and 1924, it’s strange that Forster never wrote another one, though he did write a crapload of short stories during that period.

Why did Forster never write another novel? Might be topic for another post.

So if you’ve read A Passage To India, what do you think?

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Melissa @ Swamp of Boredom #

    I read it a couple of years ago and wasn’t crazy about it. I can’t remember specifically why, but I didn’t like it enough to write a review of it.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  2. teresa #

    I liked the book, but not at all as much as Howard’s End and Room with a View which I’ve read multiple times. He wrote personal stories caught up in socially turbulent moments. I wonder if as he got older, he wasn’t able to find those stories inside himself anymore or to relate to the “new ways” of the times.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
    • I want to read a Room With A View. Always heard good things about it.

      Like

      August 14, 2013
  3. I haven’t read it. And I’m from India. Which means I’m going straight to a bookstore to get one. Incidentally To Kill A Mockingbird is my favorite novel. Thanks for the review!

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  4. this is on To Read list! please post a review, or other thoughts on this one if you get the chance!

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  5. Marc Hutchison #

    Haven’t read the novel (yet), but I loved the film.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  6. I haven’t read it, so I probably shouldn’t comment, but I love the premise of it. I’m dying to know more about India ever since I started to learn more about Ghandi.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  7. Well, he did not publish any more novels after this one in 1924, but he did continue writing some other material. ‘Maurice’ and the unfinished ‘Arctic Summer’ were both published posthumously.
    It was a long time ago that I read ‘A Passage to India’ and I cannot honestly remember too much about it (though I know I enjoyed it at the time). I have just read ‘A Room with a View’ though (see review on my blog) and ‘Howards End’ is one of my very favourite novels.
    I’ll be interested to see what you make of ‘A Passage to India’.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  8. I’m currently working my way through a huge list of Indian literature and history. A Passage to India did not blow me away, but it helps to remember the context. At the time it was written, most English were still determined to hold onto their empire and were convinced of the moral right of colonialism – that Western Europe had the right, and the obligation, to rule races they deemed unfit and incapable to rule themselves. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre occurred just a few years earlier and many English thought General Dyer a hero for what he did. English public support for Indian independence was only just beginning to become sizable when the novel was written. It is interesting to contrast A Passage to India against Kipling’s Kim (1901). Kim is a novel that is very much pro-colonialism and the ideology behind it while A Passage has some anti-colonialism themes.

    Like

    August 14, 2013
  9. Reblogged this on vimolladawan.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  10. I agree with justjase. This is a book that has to be taken in context of the history of the time.

    Now, it may not resonate with too many. I wouldn’t compare it to To Kill a Mockingbird, which is quite a straightforward narrative. A Passage to India is quite different…it kind of tackles everyone’s point of view, and you see how one incident is viewed through so many different lenses, based on prejudice.

    It’s an interesting book.

    Like

    August 15, 2013
  11. I’ve read the book twice.Hmm,at times it can be really heavy,and at times,it can get really inspiring.However,as the plot moves forward,one can see that Forster is indeed a master of English literature.The subliminal messages in the book are a delight to unveil: the bird Adela and Ronny found, the location of the civil station compared with that of the Indian villages,the sky,ect. The ending is beautiful and ambivalent,is a far cry from the cliches you normally see in books revolving around the conflict between the Indians and the British.All in all, A Passage To India is a beautiful book. Maybe Forster didn’t write any other novel because he thought he couldn’t write any better?

    Feel free to look at new blog.
    I plan on writing many thorough reviews about certain books. 🙂

    Like

    August 21, 2013
  12. Reblogged this on Adithya Entertainment.

    Like

    August 21, 2013

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  1. Book #61: A Passage To India | 101 Books

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