Customer Review

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did I miss something?, 2 Sept. 2011
This review is from: Howards End (Paperback)
I know Howards End is considered by many a classic, and gets excellent reviews, but if I am honest I struggled with it. I love classic literature, and any thinness of plot as in this case doesn't usually bother me as I find character far more important. Despite this, and there being some beautiful examples of prose in here, overall I was just not very excited about this book.

As the themes started to develop I felt like the book became a bit bogged down, repetitive, ponderous, moralistic and that the characters started to feel more wooden, with an over-reliance on coincidence to make the story go anywhere. In the end it felt like this was more a commentary on society of the time, including the role of class and gender in Britain, than actually a novel. I also felt I preferred all the wrong characters instead of what the author had set out to make me like. Margaret seemed too good to be true, Helen and Leonard annoyed me intensely from the middle of the book onwards, and I really didn't think that badly of the personalities of the Wilcoxes (with a few exceptions in their actions).

I am glad I persevered as the end of the book was by far the best bit, with the most action and the characters finally beginning in to make sense to me. I can also see why many people do love the book, particularly as Forster is a most able writer and a pleasure to read in that sense. For me personally though, I just felt that the author tried to weave his philosophical ponderings around a thin story which lacked engagement and ended up losing out on both fronts.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Feb 2014 18:36:30 GMT
I agree wholeheartedly. By the way, who on earth is Lionel Trilling? I could not understand why his superficial and inaccurate observations were included.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2015 09:14:37 GMT
msCX says:
Lionel Trilling? - a very famous US literary critic ....
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