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on 16 April 2011
Before I begin the poo-slinging, let me state that this is by no means a bad book. Ford's innovative non-chronological narrative structure is deservedly celebrated, as the reader is slowly drawn in to the swirling intrigues and romantic politics lurking beneath the refined surface of its protagonists lives. Dowell is a fascinating literary construction, the archetypal unreliable narrator, constantly struggling to make moral sense of the layers of deceit around him; indeed it reads almost as much as a psychiatric confessional as it does a factual relation.

The problem, then, is that its not much fun. Yes, I know many great works of literature are undeniably bleak, but 'The Good Soldier' has been one of the few books (together with anything by Thomas Hardy, bleurgh) I have actually made involuntary sounds of disgust whilst reading it. Other reviewers have mentioned the lack of sympathy generated by the characters, and normally I dismiss this as a weak criticism, but in this case, their sheer obnoxiousness does prove a real problem. For the most part, they are cold, backstabbing conceited aristocrats, sobbing self-pitying tears their caviar and terrifying large piles of money (stupendous wealth is a key feature here, and yes, caviar does feature). Even the most sympathetic character, Dowell comes across as merely simpering, spoilt and ineffectual, and more than a little racist. A technical achievement it may be (hence the three stars), but I defy you to give one iota of a damn about its toffee-nosed cast of bickering holidaymakers.
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on 12 February 2014
Great value for money, fast delivery and has been a fantastic read, I reading this for my Uni studies but would recommend this to anyone
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on 6 March 2016
I had already heard about this work and was curious about how I would react to it; it did not disappoint and I'm glad I sent for it.
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on 20 January 2017
Had never read this author before and quite enjoyed the development of the story. Rather dated but a good read nevertheless.
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on 22 May 2015
This is a classic at its best. Ford's writing is superb, very complete. He makes one think about the story and about life.
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on 2 August 2015
I suppose it gives an insight into the upper class attitudes of the era but "nothing happens". Very boring
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on 20 April 2015
better than Fiat Martin Fiat's "the wonky bookshelf" or Skoda Jones's "dirty bathtime
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on 29 November 2012
Written in the first person, it flips between different times and events in the past and it is not always clear what or who he is being referred to. Your understanding slowly clarifies as the storyline progresses but you might have to wait 50 pages before a throwaway remark is explained. (The narrator seems to think you know the people involved.)

Morals are seen from a 19th century male point of view but the deceit and libininous carryings-on of his wife involving close friends is regrettably accepted as one of those things. I would not like to be involved with any of the characters who lack any sense of ethics.

I enjoyed the first third for its originality in style and its humour, but this began to irritate as the narrator's ramblings continued to confuse.
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on 14 August 2015
One of the best books, until the introduction of the final character, then it goes downhill.
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on 16 July 2014
This was the most boring book I ever had the misfortune to encounter. It is quite a short book and I thought it would never end. Idle people with too much money and too much time on their hands. I honestly felt like saying 'get a life' or go and do some good in the world. One character in the book seemed to fall in love every other week. I actually lost count of all the lovers.

On a plus note: I studied this book at university as it was a course on 'Unreliable Narrators' if you need a book for this subject then Mr. Ford is your man, just don't expect a riveting read.
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