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50 of 51 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 20 months ago by M. Dowden

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Gets better...
The first few chapters had me confused. The narrator was a bit 'all over the place' in his story telling, but as you continue, you realise that the text is mirroring his thoughts and mindset.
Don't want to spoil it by telling you about it... give it a go. You'll be surprised.
Published 9 months ago by natgibbo


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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This, 13 Aug 2012
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The things were all there to content everybody; yet everybody has the wrong thing", 1 Oct 2013
By 
sally tarbox (aylesbury bucks uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Love is a battlefield, 28 Jun 2013
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (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'."

He throws these up as he apparently tries to recall the details of the story (and occasionally expresses his frustrations in asides to the reader: "I have been casting back again; but I cannot help it. It is so difficult to keep all these people going.") In spite of these protests of his limitations, the result is a immensely subtle and finely-textured story which - when you look back on its uneven path - steadily and inexorably builds to a bloody climax which shows the painful ends of characters who are "drifting down life, like fireships afloat on a lagoon and causing miseries, heart-aches, agony of the mind and death".

[I read this story as a (freely available) download on my iPhone; previously, I've only used that medium for shorter pieces, but found that it was particularly well-suited to this novel because of the built-in ability to quickly search back through the text, highlight passages of interest (something I never do in a physical book) and look up definitions for unfamiliar words. I think these features made unpicking the puzzle of this story easier to do, and improved my understanding and appreciation of the author's work.]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An immensely moving and satisfying book., 20 May 2013
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
This is certainly one of the best novels I have read, possibly the very best. It draws the reader in to to a story of quiet intensity, beautifully explored, infinitely sad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Good Soldier, 5 Sep 2012
By 
Cyril Burt "sid" (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
A brilliantly told story about the complexity of holding a life together.

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.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ., 15 Dec 2013
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A fantastic journey into the lives of seemingly ordinary people who slowly descend into turmoil. A wonderful, if long, read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read., 14 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
Now I have more free time, i'm catching up on some missed reading, by taking advantage of these free Kindle books.of these free books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Gets better..., 9 July 2013
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
The first few chapters had me confused. The narrator was a bit 'all over the place' in his story telling, but as you continue, you realise that the text is mirroring his thoughts and mindset.
Don't want to spoil it by telling you about it... give it a go. You'll be surprised.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary book, 18 Jun 2013
By 
C. F. Stoneman (Hull) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
So different from what I expected having seen Parades end. The use of a bumbling narrator who knows less about what is going on than the reader has guessed is very clever.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Ford Madox Ford, 7 Mar 2013
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This review is from: The Good Soldier (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this unusual book. Although written early in the 20th century it felt remarkably modern in it's description of failed marriage.
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