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The Good Soldier [Kindle Edition]

Ford Madox Ford
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

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Book Description

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 365 KB
  • Print Length: 146 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1604596996
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083Z4WXA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,446 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This 13 Aug. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I read this book for the first time earlier this year in a paperback version, but when I saw this free kindle edition on here whilst browsing I just had to get it, and read it all over again. If you have never read this before then you are missing a treat; you may have heard that this is a 'problem novel', but that doesn't mean it is too hard to read or understand, the problem in this case is to do with the veracity of the narrator.

Two couples, an American pair, and an English pair meet abroad for about a month every year. It transpires that one from each couple have been having a clandestine affair. If this story had been told in correct chronological order then it is doubtful that it would grab your attention so much. This particular tale is told out of kilter, so you never know the veracity of the narrator, what he really knew or suspected, and what he was in the dark about.

Fascinating and compelling this story really pulls you in, and I hope that if you decide to download it you will love it as much as I do.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love is a battlefield 28 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Here's a book whose famous opening sentence ("This is the saddest story I have ever heard") draws the unwitting reader across the threshold into a baffling world of deception, contradiction, ignorance and horror. In fact - as has been pointed out by Julian Barnes in his essay on Ford in his latest collection - by the time the reader reaches the end of that simple phrase, the deception has already started. As becomes clear in the first few pages, the narrator didn't "hear" the story at all - he was a participant (albeit a mostly ignorant one) in it. This tiny clue (Barnes describes it as a "creak under the [reader's] foot") alerts us to the unreliability of the narrator, as he starts to tell the story of the Ashburnhams, an English couple which he and his wife met at a German spa town in the 1900's. Or rather, he doesn't start. As if being unreliable wasn't enough, he relates his tale in a nonlinear fashion: jumping in at the middle, relaying flashbacks out of sequence, leaving gaps in his story that the reader is supposed to fill in, even as the full realization of what happened to those two couples gradually emerges. It's a story which calls for an attentive reader, but there are many rewards as you try to unpick the narrator's contradictions - e.g.

"[I]t made her more hateful to him - and more worthy of respect"

"And she looked at him with her straight eyes of an unflinching cruelty and she said: 'I am ready to belong to you - to save your life.'"

"I think that it would have been better in the eyes of God if they had all attempted to gouge out each other's eyes with carving knives. But they were 'good people'.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By sally tarbox TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
I found this really hard to get into: read the first 50 pages twice-over and just couldn't get on with it. Then took a deep breath, sat in a quiet room, and recommenced it, reading most in one go. And it really is quite a masterpiece!
Being a shortish (179 p) book, and being based around themes of marriage and adultery, you might be expecting a fairly easy read. It certainly isn't that, not least because the narrator (the wronged husband) doesn't start at the start and work through chronologically. Little snippets come out, but your assumptions about what is meant may be incorrect...

Who is good and who is bad? Again, the narrator's conclusions may surprise you. The characters are deeply layered, meriting a second read through. Challenging - but glad I pursued it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Human shuttlecocks 2 Oct. 2014
By Antenna TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
"This is the saddest story I have ever heard" is a somewhat off-putting opening sentence. It is hard to feel very sorry for snobbish, convention-bound people who feel hard up even when holding large estates, employing servants and swanning round foreign hotels, with the lack of any occupation to give them a sense of proportion.

At first, I was even more deterred by the style, the mannered, at times almost querulous tone which I would have expected from a Victorian spinster aunt, rather than from a character I could never quite believe was an American male. Just when I was wishing I did not need to read this for a book group, I was struck by the description of the "good soldier" Ashburnham's luggage: "the profusion of his cases, all of pigskin and stamped with his initials...It must have needed a whole herd of Gaderene swine to make up his outfit". Even if this novel is not intended to be a farce (which would have saved it for me), it surely includes some sharp notes of mocking parody.

First published in 1915, this tale of two "perfect" couples whose friendship over more than a decade masks a web of deception, hypocrisy and guilt, since they are unable to keep to the moral and religious conventions to which they feel bound, has been described as "the finest French novel in the English language" and is highly regarded by some as "stylistically perfect". I accept that it is an early example of "stream of consciousness" - of the well-punctuated variety - and what has been called "literary impressionism", as the author plays games with us through his distinctly unreliable first person narrator.
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