Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
A blow for liberation
on 18 August 2013
The story is well known. What surprised me most is the sexual frisson that Forester instils in the book from the first page. Rose is the sister of a missionary and it is a position she quickly adopts in her liberating journey with her Cockney 'beast of burden' down the Ulanga River.
Charlie Allnutt readily becomes the quiescent tool in Rose's wish to strike a blow for freedom and revenge against the German 'navy' in First World War East Africa. He would 'sooner be guided and driven' than take the lead but this is contrary to what Rose expects from the 'godlike...superior sex'. Their journey allows them to work out a relationship which satisfies their expectations of each other.
The narrative drags you in. Their are several set-piece sections which are great fun to read and allow you to forget the iffy cockney accent. Charlie progresses from a weak character who is ready to admit his cowardice only to himself and flourishes under the manipulative, stout hearted Rose. She 'comes into flower' on a liberating jouney of self-discovery and sexual release.
All great fun and hugely readable until we get to the denouement. No further spoiler comment but that's why it's four stars not five.