50 Books- A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
Where did I get this book and how many pages?
This book is available on Oyster, which reports it as having 368 print pages.
Have I read this book before?
What do I already know?
I did not know much going into this one. The beginning of the description mentioned something about racial differences and cultural tensions in England. As this was originally published in 1924, and the beginning of the 20th century was marked by a desire for independence, it can be assumed there was some tension. I do not have a large knowledge of the history of the area however, but I have just enough to understand it was not always perfect between the two cultures.
What do I think now?
There were some parts of this book that dragged for me, and others I found fascinating. While they were beautifully written, I disliked the section that were describing the beauty and mystery of the area. I think it was difficult to connect with these passages, as I have never been to India. The places they were describing were, or could have been, real. I wanted to picture them that way, not the way it was described in a book.
Much more interesting to me were the sections with people. I like people, and I love their stories. There was so much going on in each scene, so many undertones that seemed to be at times incredibly obvious and at other times barely noticeable. The tension between people from different cultures was remarkable. Tiny comments that sound innocent but are meant to hurt. It was honestly horrible. This part was easier to connect with because it reminded me of racial tensions in American history. There is a group who has power and wants to keep it; they work to keep it through the systematic pushing down of all others who might challenge their power. Of course, this was more than just racial tensions within this story. There was a conquering nation, working to impose its will on another. Additionally, there were divisions between the Indians, divisions not of race, but of culture and religion.
The trial was incredibly fascinating as well. So much pressure was placed on everyone to do ‘the right thing’ but there was very little that could be agreed upon as ‘right.’ Even when the trial was finished, everyone believed what they wanted to believe, not necessarily what was true. It was definitive moment for all of those involved, and I was very glad that the aftermath was not ignored.
Should you read this book before you die?
This is an interesting take on the differences between people in the world, not only the racial or religious differences, but also the cultural differences. It is an interesting read, and definitely one that could help to open minds to the lives and realities of other people.
What am I reading next?
I am doing a little retooling on the schedule, and bringing The Diary of Anne Frank next, followed by Money.
Happy Reading Everyone!