46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This
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...
Published 9 months ago by M. Dowden
3.0 out of 5 stars The good soldier
Rather or seems to be back to front at first bit keep going and it becomes very good although msybe
Published 1 month ago by Don Craigen
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46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This,
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.
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever-clever plotting, smooth writing, emotional wrench - a compulsive read.,
This review is from: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)This is a real page-turner with great storytelling and wonderful writing. It's an apparently simple story of a cuckolded husband but Maddox Ford tells and retells the same events from the point of view of each participant so that the reader's understandings and sympathies are constantly shifting as he begins to comprehend the complexities and motivations of those involved. Characters we thought we liked at the start become obnoxious and those we loathed are redeemed. It's clever not only because the ground constantly shifts under the reader's feet but also by the way the story is told - getting one of the characters to explain all the others. This has two effects, first, by avoiding the God narrator it legitimizes the fact that the reader doesn't understand everything at once, and secondly it makes the whole affair much more intimate and personal because these events are happening to the narrator who is our friend.
The story concerns two upper middle class couples who meet at a German spa at the turn of the 19th century and become good friends over many years. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that beneath their simple outings and picnics, sexual and emotional plate tectonics are at work. More and more is slowly revealed of what has been going on and the final pages are tragic and grim.
Much is made in literary circles of the fact that the narrator is unreliable and frequently contradicts himself or is plain wrong. This is a very neat device that covers up the fact that somehow the narrator has gotten to understand what everyone else in the story was thinking or feeling. His unreliability is really chaff to cover up this unlikely situation. Nonetheless it is well done and makes the tone and structure of the book enjoyable and unusual. In particular the narrator constantly time shifts the story backwards and forwards and fails to tell the reader some facts about events until later so that they appear mysterious and only later can be pieced together. If you enjoy detective fiction you should enjoy this.
At heart this is a desperate story of a group of people who set off in life and make a mess of it. Some are naïve, some manipulative, some loving, some hard-nosed, some living a full life and some just passing through. Which is which and who is whom the reader cannot understand until the end and the slow reveal is delightful, sad and horrific.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ford Madox Ford: so good they named him twice,
This review is from: The Good Soldier (Classic Fiction) (Audio CD)Julian Barnes relates that when a guest at one of his dinner parties dared to criticise The Good Soldier he ejected him from the premises ('I four lettered him out of the house'.) Ford Madox Ford's greatest novel, subtitled 'a tale of passion', itself has passionate advocates. And while I'm not sure I would go to such extremes as Barnes in the book's defence, it is an extraordinarily interesting work.
Published in 1915, The Good Soldier tells the tale of two married couples in their thirties who meet by chance at a spa town in Germany. To outward appearance the couples are eminently respectable but it soon becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye. Each marriage conceals a complex web of infidelities, lies and rival loyalities.
There are some similarities with the world of E.M. Forster. Both writers deal with middle class England in the Edwardian era, and both are concerned with the desperate struggle to maintain respectability. They share a sense of the absurdity and comedy that often results from this constant effort, and well as its withering effects and the limits it places on human potential.
But Ford is much sharper, more acidic, than Forster and perhaps more interesting. There is no sense with Ford that a more rational and enlightened social code would on its own result in harmonious relations between men and women. The reasons for the unhappiness and failure of so many marriages lie deeper.
Technically, the book is a tour de force, with an apparently artless and bumbling narrator delivering a complex plot through a patchwork of episodes. He is sometimes said by commentators to be 'unreliable' although paradoxically his frequent professions of uncertainty and doubt add to his credibility. One sometimes feels that he may be deluded but rarely that he is deliberately misleading the reader.
The book is read splendidly in the Naxos audio version by the American Kerry Shale. Detecting irony is not a skill thought to be widely dispersed among the population of the United States, but Shale is fully alive to the novel's tonal shifts.
36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple greatness,
This review is from: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)This deceptively simple, heart-breaking story will change the way you think about novels, writing and the canon of English literature. It is a masterpiece of the first order: simply told by a narrator who frequently doubts his ability to tell his own story it is a study of sadness and loss that is as near to "The Great Gatsby" as anything written in this country. It should not be missed under any circumstances: the reward of reading it is enormous.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Soldier,
It is a novel way of writing that takes a bit of getting used to. I enjoyed it and will read more of his books.
5.0 out of 5 stars An immensely moving and satisfying book.,
3.0 out of 5 stars The good soldier,
4.0 out of 5 stars I expected the book to be about WW1,
This review is from: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)The person on the radio programme said the Good Soldier was one of the great works of fiction so I bought a copy. The back cover shows a comment by Julian Barnes about the book being a masterpiece and another note says the book was regularly referred to by Graham Greene. I realised after I had progressed a fair way through the book that it was more a romance than a war story. The first nine words of the book hinted otherwise. I like John Dowell as narrator, the flow of the writing, the vivid descriptions of the places and people so score the book four for these alone. Overall the ingredients were in the end a little limited but a good job had been made of mixing and cooking. I did persevere and read to the end although a friend I lent the book to gave up quite early on.
4.0 out of 5 stars Ford Madox Ford,
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read,
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The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion (Penguin Classics) by Ford Madox Ford (Paperback - 26 April 2007)
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