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A Passage to India [Mass Market Paperback]

E. M. Forster , Oliver Stallybrass
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

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Mass Market Paperback, 26 Oct 1989 --  
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Book Description

26 Oct 1989 Twentieth Century Classics
After a mysterious accident during their visit to the caves, Dr Assiz is accused of assaulting Adela Quested, a naive young Englishwoman. As he is brought to trial, the fragile structure of Anglo-Indian relations collapses and the racism inherent in colonialism is exposed in all its ugliness.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 Oct 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140180761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140180763
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

What really happened in the Marabar caves? This is the mystery at the heart of E.M. Forster's 1924 novel, A Passage to India, the puzzle that sets in motion events highlighting an even larger question: can an Englishman and an Indian be friends?

Written while England was still firmly in control of India, Forster's novel follows the fortunes of three English newcomers to India--Miss Adela Quested, Mrs Moore and Cyril Fielding--and the Indian, Dr Aziz, with whom they cross destinies. The idea of true friendship between the races was a radical one in Forster's time, and he makes it abundantly clear that it was not one that either side welcomed.

Despite their countrymen's disapproval, Miss Quested, Mrs Moore and Mr Fielding are all eager to meet Indians, and in Dr Aziz they find a perfect companion: educated, westernized, and open- minded. Slowly, the friendships ripen, especially between Aziz and Fielding. Having created the possibility of esteem based on trust and mutual affection, Forster then subjects it to the crucible of racial hatred: during a visit to the famed Marabar caves, Miss Quested accuses Dr Aziz of sexually assaulting her, but then later recants during the frenzied trial that follows. Under such circumstances, affection proves to be a very fragile commodity indeed.

Arguably Forster's greatest novel, A Passage to India paints a troubling portrait of colonialism at its worst, and is remarkable for the complexity of its characters. Here the personal becomes the political, and in the breach between Aziz and his English "friends", Forster foreshadows the eventual end of the Raj. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

E. M. Forster is one of the great twentieth century authors. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Except for the Marabar Caves - and they are twenty miles off - the city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this perhaps best novel by Forster, the reader is magnificently transported to the India of the British Raj by means of an acute sense of observation, humour, and understanding of both the Indian and British dilemmas. If you've been to India, you'll recognize it, if you haven't, here's a chance to meet it at its imperical zenith. It's a heart-warming novel, and the characters will stay with you for years. You may also enjoy it simply for the language, which Forster truly has in his power. I've read it four times, I've taught it and recommended to many different people, and I've never known anyone to be disappointed!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A truely "timeless classic" 5 Jun 2000
By A Customer
When I first picked up Forster's classic novel, I wasn't sure what to expect. As a modern, 21st century reader, a book about colonial India didn't seem particularly appealing. However, A Passage to India exceeded all my expectations. The characters were both believeable and convincing but what is most striking are Forster's descriptions of setting. He brings India to life so that we not only see what it was like to live there, we almost hear and smell it too! I know that Forster's book has its flaws and is not always completely accurate but it is still one of the most important novels concerning the conflict between rulers and natives around. Read it!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East and West Can Never Meet? 23 July 2009
Almost a century after the book's publication the most crucial problems it discussed are as current as they were during Forster's life. The impossibility of communicating across the divide of culture, religion, and race, seems to be even more alive then when he saw it. The value of the novel lies not so much in representing it but in the fact that Forster offers a way out - personal contact.
The story takes us to India of the 1920s - we follow the path of a young Englishwoman who goes to marry a British official but wants to know "the real India". This she never achieves but she gets to know something by far more important - herself. Her inept attempts at connecting with India and Indians make other characters of the novel learn more about themselves, force them out of safe shells in which they lived. The lesson is painful but at least for some of the characters opens the door to a better life.
There is little chance people will suddenly like Muslims, Pakistanis, gays, lesbians, Moroccans, Turkish, Kurds etc etc - there is a chance (a very slim chance, Forster would be quick to add) that a specific American and a specific Muslim, a Turk and a Kurd, an Israeli and a Palestinian can be friends. The world may not want it, the people that surround them may not want it but the results depend on us alone. If we do not try we only have ourselves to blame.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting 6 Mar 2014
By banks10
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Knowing a bit of Forsters history, this novel was truly interesting for me to read. Although I brought it for university (it being a book I wouldnt ordinarily have chosen), I can honestly say I really enjoyed it. Its one that stays with you for ages after you've finished it. Anyone who read 'Maurice' and enjoyed it, should try this one!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Echoes of colonialism 3 Nov 2012
In a world far removed from the one in which Forster was writing, is there any place for a novel like A Passage to India other than as an idle curiosity of a bygone era? Written based on first hand experience of the British Raj, this open critique of colonialism caricatures the Anglo-Indian in his element, questioning the morality and justification of the British presence in the subcontinent.

A Passage to India is built upon its characters, who are the led through a fairly mundane plot, a jejune stage for the actors to perform upon. Yet through their actions, we discover this world of Empire, where Anglo-Indians hold themselves aloof from the population, where relationships are grounded on the basis of ruler and ruled. Forster challenges the British Raj as it was then. But he also poses questions relevant to our everyday lives: can the cultures of East and West ever truly understand one another? is it possible even for two individuals to truly understand one another? can anything good ever come from a relationship in which one party dominates the other? and what can we really understand about 'identity' through the prism of nationhood?

There is no doubt much in this book which can be analysed and overanalysed to the nauseating degree that only a literature class can provoke, and I can imagine that many who studied this novel in a classroom environment learned only to hate it. Where the simplicity of the plot provides only a thread for the characters to follow, the imagery of India's weather and terrain, her townships and cultural diversity, combine to provide symbolic tapestry lending itself to interpretation.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
A Passage to India vividly demonstrates the psychology of how people avoid those who are different than themselves. The litmus test of this problem is identified by how even friendly people assume the worst about others, rather than keeping an open mind or assuming the best.
The book is less successful at providing a model of how to overcome those weaknesses. Mrs. Moore, a visiting Englishwoman, in the book successfully establishes a friendship with Dr. Aziz, a Muslim physician in Chandrapore, India. The connection is deeply embedded in her sincere interest in all other people and their feelings. She arrives in the book with that empathy, and only one of her sons also seems to have the same fineness of emotional connection. Another son clearly doesn't. So, it's a rare trait, even in families. There is no evidence of how to create that attitude which leads to such rapid and firm trust.
More typical is the friendship between Dr. Aziz and Cyril Fielding. Both are committed to each other, but are quick to suspect each other's motives. A continuing effort allows them to reconcile. One has to suppose that their relationship is the model that E.M. Forester had in mind for most of us. We can connect with others we respect and like, and with hard work can overcome miscommunications and suspicion.
Dr. Aziz is portrayed in a very thoughtful way. He wants to have friends across the cultural divide, and makes enormous efforts in that respect. However, his intentions often have unintended consequences. He bears up and moves forward. I was impressed from this character about the need to have many people who seek friendship in order to make connections possible.
The plot builds around the arrival of Mrs.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I knew is going to be a good story! I liked the style and how...
I knew is going to be a good story! I liked the style and how characters were built. I recommend it - it's a classic anyway.
Published 22 days ago by lil_reviewing
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Insightful Prose BUT
This much lauded and loved book was of interest in terms of its subject matter, absorbing in respect of its observations but far less so in respect of its plot. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Jefroc
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book to read and go back again and again .
I enjoyed the story and the description of India at the time of the Raj The characters are very interesting, each one of them,
I am glad to have this book on my kindle.
Published 4 months ago by Giuliana Zanotti
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull as ditchwater
this book is dull, dull, dull. I think this could be the most tedious books it has ever been my misfortune to read, and I have read some real turkeys. Read more
Published 4 months ago by C. J. Passingham
5.0 out of 5 stars Great service and product
Came completely wrapped up as new and was a good read for a cheap price. only downside is how long it took to arrive. but no issues aside from that
Published 6 months ago by sally
5.0 out of 5 stars Consistently pursuing his great themes.
If the reader is confused by the kaleidoscope of characters on entering the opening chapters, Forster has been successful in placing the reader right at the centre of his theme. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Greta Palmer
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read for Indian travel
My daughter is taking this book to read on a school trip to India. This book is an uneasy work of art which I hope gives her more insight into the history of the British Colonial... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Soltana
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointent...
I bought this book just after my return from the trip to India, and - knowing about the author and his place in English literarure, and having read all positive reviews - I was... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Olga A. Baird
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a book selected by a book club
Delivered within a couple of days giving plenty of time to read and digest before the monthly club meeting although I would not have bought otherwise
Published 15 months ago by David M Jannetta
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
Had to buy the book for AS English Literature and I dropped the subject a week later, it probably is a good book, but never used its probably a waste of money for me.
Published 17 months ago by Niall Connell
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