Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Room With a View - E.M. Forster

A Room With a View
I have to admit...I am currently halfway through Howard's End and keep getting it confused with A Room With a View in my mind. As I sit down to write this post, I am actively working to separate the two novels mentally. A consequence of this challenge, I suppose.

The funny thing is, I found E. M. Forster's A Room With a View quite charming. It doesn't deserve to get confused with another novel.

Yet, as I have mentioned before, some of these Modern Library picks run together a bit. So many are set in this turn-of-the-century British world. Good thing I like that world a lot, but still. I would love to see some more diversity on the list!  

A Room With a View tells the story of Lucy Honeychurch. It starts out in Florence, Italy, where Lucy is traveling with her cousin Charlotte. She meets a young man, George Emerson, and his father. They have several interactions, culminating in a stolen kiss witnessed by a mortified Charlotte. Lucy is then whisked away back to England and the secret is kept.

The second half of the novel picks up later and Lucy becomes engaged to the priggish Cecil Vyse. Of course, George reenters the scene unexpectedly and Lucy is forced to sort through her feelings. In the end, she breaks things off with Cecil and elopes with George. 

Forster did a fine job of incorporating the title into this work without being completely blatant about it. Lucy struggles to imagine herself with Cecil anywhere but inside, while she finds time with George to be easily imagined out of doors. Forster obviously equates this with the idea of freedom and Lucy must choose between the man who offers her freedom to express herself or the man who will keep her indoors. I love that the title stands somewhere in the middle. It leaves you not quite certain who Lucy will choose. "A room with a view" could be either man with a bit of compromise.

Forster also presented his characters well. I listened to the book and the reader gave Lucy a quite obnoxious high-pitched voice that made her seem flighty, so I had to look past that and learn to love her through the words only. While she is a bit flighty and certainly struggles to make sense of her own feelings, I truly did like her character. And George was wonderful. Charlotte was perfectly stiff. Lucy's little brother come off as a very realistic young man still caught in between childhood and adult life. Finally, Cecil was just the worst. You couldn't help but hate him and yet understand why he seemed like a safe, wise choice in Lucy's mind. 

If this type of book is your thing, than I definitely recommend it. It certainly is not for everyone. There is not a lot of action. Rather, it falls more in line with Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Thankfully, this is a genre I enjoy.

Pages: 240
Date Completed: April 10, 2014

No comments:

Post a Comment