Dan Sandman

33: A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

In Books, Comedy, Fiction on 12/08/2016 at 12:00 pm

A Passage to India by E. M. ForsterBy 1924, E. M. Forster had made his name as a successful writer of social comedies which wittily poked fun at the British class system. This was the year that he published A Passage to India, Forster’s much celebrated book about British colonial rule. Like his previous works, it reads well as a comedy of manners. Forster is brilliant at exposing the misunderstandings between differing social groups, here aiming his pen at colonial India.

Forster is very good at structuring his novels. He usually begins a chapter with a paragraph which either describes a place or presents us with a philosophical viewpoint on which to judge the following scene. Such scenes often centre around social gatherings, for example the ‘bridge party’ held near the beginning of the novel. Forster is then able to present his characters with awkward situations that challenge their social positions within an inflexible class system.

I am looking forward to reading more of this novel. So far, I have become very interested in the character Aziz and his mixed feelings towards the British. The blurb on my paperback states that this comedy will expose ‘the racism inherent in colonialism’. It appears that a book can now be marketed as an exposé of colonial racism, perhaps a sign that being critical of British rule has become popular.

What do you think?

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