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The Forsyte Saga

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The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy's monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte's marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy's monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte's marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a comfort-bound class in its final glory. Galsworthy spares none of his characters, revealing their weaknesses and shortcomings as clearly as he does the tenacity and perseverance that define the strongest members of the Forsyte family.This edition contains the three original novels -- The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let -- and their connecting interludes, Indian Summer of a Forsyte and Awakening.


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The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy's monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte's marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a The Forsyte Saga is John Galsworthy's monumental chronicle of the lives of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. The story of Soames Forsyte's marriage to the beautiful and rebellious Irene, and its effects upon the whole Forsyte clan, The Forsyte Saga is a brilliant social satire of the acquisitive sensibilities of a comfort-bound class in its final glory. Galsworthy spares none of his characters, revealing their weaknesses and shortcomings as clearly as he does the tenacity and perseverance that define the strongest members of the Forsyte family.This edition contains the three original novels -- The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let -- and their connecting interludes, Indian Summer of a Forsyte and Awakening.

30 review for The Forsyte Saga

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra-X

    The first time I read this book I was going up the Amazon. I had just crossed the Atlantic with three friends on a yacht and got off in Fortaleza, Brazil. I thought this would be my one and only chance to see the Amazon so I stuffed a backpack full of the necesssaries, abandoned the rest and got a bus to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon. A month later having explored Belem, Santarem and a few other small places I found myself in Manaus, 1,000 miles up the Amazon. It took me a few weeks to sort The first time I read this book I was going up the Amazon. I had just crossed the Atlantic with three friends on a yacht and got off in Fortaleza, Brazil. I thought this would be my one and only chance to see the Amazon so I stuffed a backpack full of the necesssaries, abandoned the rest and got a bus to Belem at the mouth of the Amazon. A month later having explored Belem, Santarem and a few other small places I found myself in Manaus, 1,000 miles up the Amazon. It took me a few weeks to sort out a guide I could afford as I didn't want to join a tourist party and although previously my travels had been on my own, I wanted to leave the towns, the river boats, roads and really penetrate the jungle and obviously I couldn't do that on my own. I was lucky enough to find an Indian who had been a tour guide but was now returning to his village on a lake several hundred miles away. He spoke English, Portuguese and Xingu and was happy, for a smallish fee, to take me along. And this is where the Forsyte Saga comes in. Travelling by small boat, bus, river boats and sometimes walking miles to reach another place on the red laterite road to get to another tributary and another boat, several days later we reached the village. During that journey there had been long periods of just waiting while trees were chopped down to bypass huge potholes - ones big enough to have 6' Victoria Regina water lilies floating in them - and I read the only book I brought, the 800+ page Forsyte Saga. Despite it being a big book, it wasn't really heavy as the pages were tissue thin. Which was good, because as I read them I ripped them out and used them. Tissue indeed! Later in the village, which was floating houses and ones built on stilts, about 40 altogether, spread out around a lake that took a motorboat over two hours to go around, I was shown the local variant of toilet tissue. It was a largish, quite thick leaf whose furriness made it very soft and when crushed it released a very soothing, slightly scented liquid, a natural body lotion. I did learn the name in Xingu but never in English. I wish I could remember what it was because it was so much nicer than any toilet tissue I have ever used and I would grow it in pots in the bathroom. So 5-stars to the Forsyte Saga for a brilliant story and being so damn useful in a time of great need.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles #1-3), John Galsworthy The Forsyte Saga, first published under that title in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize–winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of a large commercial upper-middle-class English family, similar to Galsworthy's own. Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of The Forsyte Saga (The Forsyte Chronicles #1-3), John Galsworthy The Forsyte Saga, first published under that title in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize–winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of a large commercial upper-middle-class English family, similar to Galsworthy's own. Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames Forsyte, sees himself as a "man of property" by virtue of his ability to accumulate material possessions – but this does not succeed in bringing him pleasure. The Forsyte saga, John Galsworthy. ‏‫‬‭Leipzig‏‫‬‭: Bernhard Tauchnitz‏‫‬‭, 1938 ‏‫‬‭= 1317. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و چهارم ماه آوریل سال 1975 میلادی عنوان: داستانهای خانواده فورسایت؛ نویسنده: جان گالزورثی؛ زندگی سه نسل از یک خانواده‌ی پرقدرت ویکتوریایی را به تصویر می‌کشد. خانواده‌ ای که در ظاهر، قوی و متکبر بوده، و اعتماد به نفس بالایی دارد ولی در زیر این سطح ظاهری، از هسته‌ ای بدخیم، از روابط ناشاد و بی‌رحمانه، که سرشار از تنش و حسادت است، رنج می‌برد. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)

    This is a titanic masterpiece of a multi-generational story of a fictional English family that spans the Victorian, Edwardian, and post-World War I eras. For the first one-hundred pages or so, I found myself having to frequently refer to the Forsyte family genealogical chart; however, by the end of the book I knew all of the characters and their place in the family intimately. Like all families, Galsworthy has created a world of very real and human characters in the Forsyte family; a family This is a titanic masterpiece of a multi-generational story of a fictional English family that spans the Victorian, Edwardian, and post-World War I eras. For the first one-hundred pages or so, I found myself having to frequently refer to the Forsyte family genealogical chart; however, by the end of the book I knew all of the characters and their place in the family intimately. Like all families, Galsworthy has created a world of very real and human characters in the Forsyte family; a family bound as much by their name, and at times even their dysfunction. Many of the novel's characters exhibit the full range of emotion and feeling, including: love, greed, hatred, passion, jealousy, lust, truth, honesty, betrayal, and so forth; it is all there within this family - The Forsytes. Once started, I could not put this book down easily; it is that compelling. I fully understand why John Galsworthy was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932. For those who love novels of and about England, The Forsyte Saga is a must read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    “He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the small house, – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.” There you have it. Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acquisitiveness and striving of the British upper-middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century. “He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the small house, – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.” There you have it. Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acquisitiveness and striving of the British upper-middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century. The Forsytes aren't landed aristocracy like Lord Grantham of Downton Abbey. They're only a couple of generations removed from farmers. But they've been successful in trade, in publishing, at the bar, and they live in ongepotchket Victorian splendor, faithfully served by retainers and housemaids, in London and its environs. Galsworthy was himself the product of a wealthy family and trained as a barrister before traveling abroad, meeting Joseph Conrad and envisioning a different life. He fell in love with the wife of his cousin, an army major, and married her after a ten-year affair and her eventual divorce. He was among the first writers to deal with social class in his work and to challenge the mores and ideals reinforced by the Victorian writers who preceded him. Notably, but not surprisingly given his personal life, he defied the standard view of women as property and defended their right to leave unhappy marriages. “'I don't know what makes you think I have any influence,' said Jolyon; 'but if I have I'm bound to use it in the direction of what I think is her happiness. I am what they call a “feminist,” I believe...I'm against any woman living with any man whom she definitely dislikes. It appears to me rotten.'” It is the unhappily married woman referred to here around whom much of The Forsyte Saga revolves. Irene (I-reen-ee), disastrously married to a “man of property,” is the antithesis of a Forsyte. She represents beauty and art and passion and free will. Before reluctantly marrying Soames Forsyte, she extracted a promise that he would let her go if it didn't work out. His failure to do so drives the story and a multi-generational family estrangement. While Galsworthy thoroughly develops the other primary characters, Irene is a beautiful cipher at the center of the novel. We never get her point of view; we see her through the eyes of others and can only infer her thoughts and feelings. The Forsyte Saga features a huge cast of characters but the family tree that accompanies most editions is needed only at the beginning. To Galsworthy's credit, we quickly get to know the main characters and the chorus of peripheral relatives that swirl around them. There are births, deaths, betrayals, couplings, uncouplings, recouplings, and generational upheaval, all conveyed in deft, eminently readable prose, a short 900 pages. This is a sumptuous wallow of a book with redeeming social value.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Antigone

    Galsworthy's classic is probably best approached in mid-life, when the truth begins to dawn that an Age, like Keats' joy, is only really sighted as it's waving good-bye. When youth is something we begin to refer to as an attribute we once possessed. When loss begins to carry as much outraging weight as the pursuit of an aim, or a dream, or a station. There is a quality of consciousness we enter into as we mature that is informed by resignation and grief, and it is this perspective to which Galsworthy's classic is probably best approached in mid-life, when the truth begins to dawn that an Age, like Keats' joy, is only really sighted as it's waving good-bye. When youth is something we begin to refer to as an attribute we once possessed. When loss begins to carry as much outraging weight as the pursuit of an aim, or a dream, or a station. There is a quality of consciousness we enter into as we mature that is informed by resignation and grief, and it is this perspective to which Galsworthy's tale will resonate. His issues are safety and fortification, ownership and identification, the remorseless march of Time and the amorphous nature of achievement. That life is what one makes of it and can be nothing more is not, I think, a view that can be fully appreciated by those who are new to the struggle with acceptance. All this to say The Forsyte Saga will prove a passable book to one who has yet to encounter his first grey hair. And to one who has stumbled across a few? May prove to be a good deal more. Composed as a trilogy connected by two short stories, the saga of the Forsyte family is a lengthy work taking place in Britain at the tail end of the Victorian Age. Central as a tent post here is the character of Soames Forsyte, a man of property, whose restricted vision of life imbues him with the rock-hard stability his extended family requires to keep their affairs in order. Such resolute capitalistic practicality will not, however, assist him in understanding his distant and devastatingly beautiful wife, Irene. Her restlessness in their union is becoming so pronounced that he's decided to build her a magnificent house, conveniently located far from town, where she may, like his artwork, be more privately and fittingly displayed. This works out about as well as one imagines it might, and produces the conflict in which Galsworthy's larger themes are ground. The first hundred pages are a slog; there's no way around that. But the story blossoms in both drama and depth as the stakes mount and reputations writhe. There's none of Austen's light touch here, or Woolf's magnetic stream-of-consciousness. This is a traditional voice cached in a traditional structure...and thoroughly appropriate for its fin de siècle explorations, to my eye. If you've got a little time, and perhaps more than a little existential fatigue, here's a solid choice of treatment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Werner

    As a kid growing up, my home town only could receive three TV stations (ABC, CBS, NBC). Our part of Iowa got a PBS station in 1968, and one of the first programs I was able to see on it was the BBC miniseries The Forsyte Saga (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061253/ ), starring Eric Porter and Nyree Dawn Porter, who had the same last name but weren't related. (I highly recommend that version, and not the wretched 2002-03 remake, of which I saw very little, but enough that I didn't want to see As a kid growing up, my home town only could receive three TV stations (ABC, CBS, NBC). Our part of Iowa got a PBS station in 1968, and one of the first programs I was able to see on it was the BBC miniseries The Forsyte Saga (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0061253/ ), starring Eric Porter and Nyree Dawn Porter, who had the same last name but weren't related. (I highly recommend that version, and not the wretched 2002-03 remake, of which I saw very little, but enough that I didn't want to see more.) Watching this inspired me, while it was still running, to read the hardcover omnibus edition published by Charles Scribner's Sons (with prefaces by the author and by his widow, Ada Galsworthy), which includes The Man of Property (1906), the bridging story "Indian Summer of a Forsyte," In Chancery (1920), the bridging story "Awakening," and To Let (1921). Though I didn't know it at the time, this was only part of the larger corpus of Galsworthy's Forsyte Chronicles, which included two more trilogies (I was surprised that the miniseries actually included the first of those, A Modern Comedy) and other material. He also wrote a lot of non-Forsyte-related short fiction and plays; but besides this trilogy, I've never read any more of work except for his outstanding story "Quality." This is a multi-generational (there are significant characters representing three generations) family saga, beginning in 1886 and continuing on to the years following World War I, focusing on the upper-middle class Forsyte family, fictional embodiments of the high-Victorian/Edwardian affluent, Galsworthy's own native milieu. (The inside of the front and back covers has a Forsyte family tree.) I'm currently reading a Jane Austen novel, and there are similarities and differences in their literary visions and approaches. Both write pretty much exclusively about their own moneyed class, with very little attention to servants or employees; both have written what could be called novels of manners, in a Realist mode, and both have a concern with domestic life, courtship and marriages (happy and otherwise). And neither have much use for the obsession with amassing and increasing property that too often was the ruling principle of life in their circles. But there are also differences, beyond the obvious ones occasioned by a significant gap of time between their writings, and by the differences in perspective between a male and a female writer (most obvious in that Galsworthy's major viewpoint characters, Soames and Young Jolyon, are male). Galsworthy tends to be more critical of British upper-crust society and to view it as more monolithic and constraining. He also doesn't have Austen's strong moral and spiritual grounding, which isn't ostentatiously paraded in her novels but which quietly undergirds them. He was the product of a generation which had largely lost its religious faith (Young Jolyon's one awkward attempt at religious conversation with his young adult son is revealing) and replaced it mostly with a now-unrivaled open faith in money, which the author found wanting. Galsworthy's own faith is mostly in the refining influence of culture and art, and in romantic Love --but the latter often tends to be misinterpreted as sexual infatuation, and even in these novels, people tend to be hurt (and not only by confining social mores) as a result of other's fanatical service to that deity. His own life experiences also play an enormous part in shaping this trilogy. (view spoiler)[He had an adulterous affair with his cousin's wife, which caused that couple's divorce, and subsequently married her. It's not a coincidence that the central plot-line here exactly recreates that kind of triangle.) (hide spoiler)] The enormous socio-cultural upheaval in England during the course of time covered in the novels, operating like a flood sweeping away the whole social and economic foundations of the Forsyte's entire social poition and way of life, is very much a theme here. But the author, as his preface and places in the text reveal, is a somewhat ambivalent chronicler of the changes; he's not sure they're tending to something unqualifiedly better, which gives the work a bittersweet quality. The real strengths of the tale here lie in Galsworthy's enormous power to create very lifelike, well-realized and vibrant characters who command our interest, and to weave compelling stories about them. His style is finely crafted, intelligent and with a good vocabulary but not overly convoluted, and he can often write scenes with real emotional power. (In one place, one critic has commented that his "prose becomes almost too poignant to bear," and I agree!) He can also make highly effective use of symbolism. (I would fault him at one point for showing his medical ignorance --his day job was as a lawyer, not a physician-- to structure a supposed moral dilemma which had already been obviated by advancing medical techniques; but that's a quibble.) His career was crowned with the Nobel Prize for Literature; and on his showing here, I'd consider it deserved.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Siria

    The Man of Property The Man of Property is the first book in what would eventually turn out to be the nine volume Forsyte Saga, the work for which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered. It was made into a TV series not so long ago, which is how I'd heard of it, but I hadn't read it until I picked it up to read in an airport recently in order to pass the time thanks to interminable flight delays. It really did quite nicely. The writing is very much of its time - 1906 - and for those who are not used to The Man of Property The Man of Property is the first book in what would eventually turn out to be the nine volume Forsyte Saga, the work for which Galsworthy is chiefly remembered. It was made into a TV series not so long ago, which is how I'd heard of it, but I hadn't read it until I picked it up to read in an airport recently in order to pass the time thanks to interminable flight delays. It really did quite nicely. The writing is very much of its time - 1906 - and for those who are not used to late Victorian or early Edwardian prose, I think it could prove a little tough going at times. I grew up devouring books from that period, so as far as I was concerned, it was a very comfortable read. Galsworthy does veer a little towards what would be considered sentimentalism nowadays, but he avoids the overt mawkishness which now makes quite a substantial amount of the literature of that period nigh on unreadable - for me, at any rate. The double focus of the book - on the Forsyte family, and on the marriage between Soames and Irene Forsyte - is interesting, and I think helps to reinforce what Galsworthy was trying to get at: the futility of acquiring money and material goods while neglecting the things which truly matter in life. The Forsyte family is drawn well, though at times it felt as if he was using too many examples for the reader to follow easily. The fact that there are ten Forsyte siblings, many of whom have children of their own, means that you really have to get the genealogy straight in your head before you can read on very far. His depiction of the marriage of Soames and Irene was, I think, the most successful part of the novel. The levels of complexity he displays here are very impressive - both of them possess sympathetic qualities and repulsive ones. Despite Soames' rape of his wife, he shows such a complete inability to understand her, try as he might, that all my revulsion was mixed with pity; while Irene's state, though saddening, was tempered by her inability to break out of that wall of stone which seems to surround her personality. There's really enough of a hook in this that I've got the next two volumes in the series lined up to read soon. If you've got any sort of interest in this period of history, I really would recommend these books. In Chancery Perhaps a little slower moving than the first book, and the plot moves in a way which is familiar and predictable in its Victorian-ness in a way which is very reassuring to me; especially since nineteenth century novels are my version of comfort reading. Although the resolution - Irene marrying young Jolyon; Soames marrying Annette - is obvious from very near the beginning of the novel, Galsworthy sketches out the movements of the novel with assurance and elegance. Thematically, the novel hangs well with the rest of the series, and is a wonderful sketch of a particular strata of English society around the turn of the last century. To Let I didn't like this one quite so much as the preceding two. Galsworthy follows the same formula as in the first two books - the tragedy of an unsuitable relationship, and how it can damage an entire family - with an added Romeo and Juliet style twist. However, I never really came to feel for Fleur and Jon the way I did for the characters of the preceding generations of Forsytes. Soames, Irene, and Young Jolyon still continued to be the characters I wanted to see more of. Still the same rambling, elegant Victorian-stye prose that I love, though. I don't know if I would particularly recommend this as a book on its own; still, as a part of the series as a whole, its probably a good idea to read it, if only because it rounds out the characters' stories for you to a large extent.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Perry

    Fin de siècle art of the first and finest magnitude; I am floored. I must gaze a while longer upon this blue diamond before I can try to give it justice by writing a thorough review. So much comes out of this, including novel treatments of love, art, marriage and the English bourgeousie, as well as what was apparently then (pub. 1918, and set 1880 on) a feminist viewpoint: a woman is not subjugated to her husband upon marriage, he cannot thereafter "have her" whenever he wants. Really, and Fin de siècle art of the first and finest magnitude; I am floored. I must gaze a while longer upon this blue 💎 diamond before I can try to give it justice by writing a thorough review. So much comes out of this, including novel treatments of love, art, marriage and the English bourgeousie, as well as what was apparently then (pub. 1918, and set 1880 on) a feminist viewpoint: a woman is not subjugated to her husband upon marriage, he cannot thereafter "have her" whenever he wants. Really, and unexpectedly, extraordinary.

  9. 5 out of 5

    ~Geektastic~

    I found The Forsyte Saga on the shelf of my local library a couple of years ago and it has been a decided favorite of mine ever since. While “saga” is not the first word to come to mind when thinking about the British upper middle class in the later days of Victoria, it is apt. The story is a multigenerational examination of family and tradition in a time of transition, and it examines the various institutions and ideas that were under the most pressure to change as the British Empire declined I found The Forsyte Saga on the shelf of my local library a couple of years ago and it has been a decided favorite of mine ever since. While “saga” is not the first word to come to mind when thinking about the British upper middle class in the later days of Victoria, it is apt. The story is a multigenerational examination of family and tradition in a time of transition, and it examines the various institutions and ideas that were under the most pressure to change as the British Empire declined from its former glory. As a microcosm of the English nouveau riche at the turn of the century, the Forsytes are affected by the great changes ushered in at that time: shifting attitudes about marriage, new concepts in art and literature, the breakdown of strict class distinctions, the impact of the first World War, and new ideas concerning the importance of ownership and acquisition, to name a few. Starting at the end of my list, the Forsytes are nothing if not acquisitive; there is a reason the first of the three volumes is called “A Man of Property.” Ownership is a defining feature of the upper middle class, since it is their money and property rather than blood and birth that has established their niche in society. The Forsytes, though representative of their kind, are not homogeneous and there are dissenters within the ranks. Old Jolyon, the patriarch of the clan, appears as stolid and respectable as any English gentleman behind his cloud of cigar smoke, but beneath the surface is a restlessness and love of beauty that is belied by his club dinners, calling cards and investments in the four-percents. His son is also called Jolyon (known as Young Jolyon or Jo) and he is a variation of his father, only stripped of his respectability and bared to the derision of the world after leaving his first wife for love and the life of an artist. The third generation of Old Jolyon’s direct line, his granddaughter June, is even further separated from the priorities of her grandfather’s generation. The contrast of the generations operates throughout the various branches of the family, from Old Jolyon’s brothers and sisters on down the line to their grandchildren, but it is definitely the Jolyon branch of the family that encouraged my interest and sympathy the most. On the opposite side of the family is James, a bit of a sad-sack miser, and his son Soames. While Soames is set up in contrast to the soft-hearted Jolyon and his side of the family, he still manages to attract a sympathetic glance from time to time, if only because he seems to be blind to the fact that owning something does not preclude happiness. Unfortunately, it is Soames’ beautiful wife Irene that must be subjected to Soames’ most extreme quest to possess and causes him to act in ways that make him, in simpler terms than it deserves, the villain. The spirit of conflict that threads its way through the three volumes is embodied by Irene. She is the wild beauty that sweeps through the ordered, somewhat stifled existence of the Forsytes and changes everything. Looking at Irene, it would not seem possible that she could be the tempest that uproots so many; she is quiet and reserved, rarely revealing what is roiling beneath her cool exterior. At first, I was tempted to dislike Irene as much as I disliked Soames, (view spoiler)[since her solution to her loveless marriage is an affair with the lover of her best friend (hide spoiler)] . But some things cannot be controlled, and love is first among them- something Galsworthy takes pains to show. According to Wikipedia, Galsworthy had an affair with a married woman, which contributed to his portrayal of Irene, who is both a representative of the new ideas emerging in the Edwardian era, and of Beauty with a capital “B,” which fascinates Old Jolyon and Jo as much as it does the obsessive Soames. Irene eventually wins her freedom from Soames, at great cost, but her effect on the family never truly dissipates, but rather becomes the foundation of further conflict in the next generation. The sins of the father are visited upon the son (or daughter, as the case may be). The grand themes of social change and class consciousness are interesting in themselves, but it is the characters that make The Forsyte Saga live and breathe. The maiden Aunts that preside over the affairs of the family are funny and sad, as is the reclusive Timothy. Jo is the picture of the black sheep, with his notions of happiness for its own sake, in stark contrast to his family’s overall philosophy. His daughter June is enthusiatic and intractable in her pursuit of justice and equality, which manages to make her alternately admirable and frustrating. There are a host of other characters: Winifred and her good-for-nothing husband Dartie; Swithin, the determined bachelor; the romantic and tragic Bosinney; the younger generation of Forsytes, Holly and Jolly, who are made to rethink the world in the advent of WWI; the honorable but unfortunate Jon. My favorite, in all honesty, is Old Jolyon. Despite his initial rejection of his son’s life choices, he proves himself to have a big, warm heart and the ability to see past the surface concerns that interest his brothers and sisters so much. (view spoiler)[ I cried during the first interlude, when the lovely old fellow died peacefully beneath the trees at Robin Hill. (hide spoiler)] The Forsyte Saga is a story of family, of love and loss, of change and the amazing ability for some things to stay the same. There are multiple love stories, some no more than brief entanglements, others that shake the foundation of the family (and even some intermarriage amongst the cousins). Galsworthy presents this family epic with a combination of laughter and compassion, and while it can be said that the Forsytes are representatives of a type, they are also fantastically idiosyncratic as individuals. The drama is tempered by the everyday actions of meals, board meetings and various discussions of finance, but they enrich the tale rather than oppress it. I have read this immense novel, or collection of three novels and two “interludes,” twice now. I’m sure, if I pick it up again anytime soon, that there will be even more to see and enjoy. The beauty of the story is that it is so rich with detail, both of its time and of the individuals that populate it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    David Lentz

    The writing evident in this epic is masterful and engaging: it is even and substantive and elegant. The rich irony about the lengths that men strive to acquire property in all its forms and then find their acquisitions useless, meaningless and certainly not worth the price. Galworthy was focused upon property in so many different varieties: the sense of possession that men had of their wives in his time amid archaic laws about divorce; the building of a home that ends in unexpected expense in The writing evident in this epic is masterful and engaging: it is even and substantive and elegant. The rich irony about the lengths that men strive to acquire property in all its forms and then find their acquisitions useless, meaningless and certainly not worth the price. Galworthy was focused upon property in so many different varieties: the sense of possession that men had of their wives in his time amid archaic laws about divorce; the building of a home that ends in unexpected expense in chancery; the elusive value of works of art; the subtleties of property from family crests, clubs, colleges and occupational status and cuts of mutton to the blatant futility of fighting over land in South Africa during the Boer War -- it's all shallow and empty materialism in the end. The property is never worth the cost of the trouble to acquire it. Young people slave to gather possessions only to regret in old age that they have traded so much of life away to gain them and must undergo the painful rigors of its redistribution through wills after death. Galsworthy seemed to me like a sort of British Tolstoy writing in England for property reform. Because when property is involved, men tend to objectify about it and in the course of things they tend to lose their sense of humanity. This troublesome pattern of life seems to repeat itself often like a lesson men never learn -- as the objectifying I-It relationship of Martin Buber replaces the humane I-Thou. Yes, it's a long novel but when the writing is this compelling in its style and substance, you can luxuriate in the beauty and wisdom of the words. Every character is finely and individually drawn like a character in a Velasquez portrait of a large family. You may regret that this edition isn't longer when it ends but fortunately there is more of his work in which to indulge. Galsworthy's work earned him a Nobel Prize -- it's easy to see the astonishing depth and range and virtuosity that the Nobel judges found in his writing. Don't pass up the chance to bask in this epic saga of Galsworthy. It's easily one of the top ten novels ever written in the English language -- it's really that good.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    What a splendid family saga written by John Galsworthy. The book covers the period between 1886 and 1920 and tells the story of the Forsyte's and their struggle to have the most successful life at that time. This volume is composed by three books: The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let. The first book describes the life of Soames Forsyte and his wife Irene. However, this marriage will have a lot of troublesome issues along the whole narrative. This will led to dramatic consequences for all What a splendid family saga written by John Galsworthy. The book covers the period between 1886 and 1920 and tells the story of the Forsyte's and their struggle to have the most successful life at that time. This volume is composed by three books: The Man of Property, In Chancery and To Let. The first book describes the life of Soames Forsyte and his wife Irene. However, this marriage will have a lot of troublesome issues along the whole narrative. This will led to dramatic consequences for all Forsytes. It's a pity that this big fat family saga ended even if this book has more than 700 pages.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bekka

    One of the greatest works of literature, there's a reason why Mr. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this work. An epic saga of a single extended family which spans several generations, Galsworthy creates characters that are human and fallible, noble, kind and cruel. The story is deeply moving, funny, infuriating and completely compelling. This is a huge work, but, as with all great novels, the better it is, the more you want it to continue on and on. This one does! The Saga One of the greatest works of literature, there's a reason why Mr. Galsworthy won the Nobel Prize for Literature for this work. An epic saga of a single extended family which spans several generations, Galsworthy creates characters that are human and fallible, noble, kind and cruel. The story is deeply moving, funny, infuriating and completely compelling. This is a huge work, but, as with all great novels, the better it is, the more you want it to continue on and on. This one does! The Saga comprises of three novels and two "interludes" or short stories between the novels. The first interlude of the saga, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte," is one of the most beautiful and poignant works I have ever read. In addition to this first work, Galsworthy continued the story of the Forsytes for another two complete epics, creating nine novels in all. He also created a series of short stories to fill in elements of the characters backstories. If you intend to embark on this wonderful journey into the heart of middle class Brits at turn of the 20th century, I recommend the Oxford University Press edition, which has an extensive glossary included. Galsworthy includes a large amount of slang of the period, and this edition explains those terms. Its available at the Madison Library District for patron use.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Drat. I see I lost the slip of paper where I write page numbers and the little notes for the book report. There are a few numbers scrawled on the inside back cover; page 785 has cricket, 808 the fixed idea, and there's a giant dog-ear folded from the bottom of the page. That would be a chapter I want to read again. I put off finishing it too. The book was left untouched at page 830 for an entire month. Didn't want to finish it. I had been through too much with them, especially the unloveable Drat. I see I lost the slip of paper where I write page numbers and the little notes for the book report. There are a few numbers scrawled on the inside back cover; page 785 has cricket, 808 the fixed idea, and there's a giant dog-ear folded from the bottom of the page. That would be a chapter I want to read again. I put off finishing it too. The book was left untouched at page 830 for an entire month. Didn't want to finish it. I had been through too much with them, especially the unloveable Soames, and the houses; Robin Hill and Timothy's. "His heart made a faint demonstration within him while he stood in full south sunlight on the newly whitened doorstep of that little houses where four Forsytes had once lived, and now but one dwelt on like a winter fly; the house into which Soames had come and out of which he had gone times without number, divested of, or burdened with, fardels of family gossip; the house of the 'old people' of another century, another age." That house. The passage of time is strong in this book and Galsworthy's precision and wit so timeless, I can recognize in Soame's misgivings about motor cars my own dizzy suspicions cellphones. Whether it's the 19th or 20th century that's turning, things only seem to go faster. This is not going back on the shelf. I'm tucking this dogeared beast under the bedside table so I can reread all my favourite parts.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Cphe

    Took quite a while to come to terms with all of the characters and their relationship with one another in this epic tome. The three novels primarily centre around Soames Forsyte, his wife Irene and the house he contracts to build for her that would ultimately have such far reaching repercussions. This novel has it all, memorable characters, loves lost and gained, drama, and yes melodrama. It's a novel of family ties, respectability and money. Enjoyed the first novel very much but it was the final Took quite a while to come to terms with all of the characters and their relationship with one another in this epic tome. The three novels primarily centre around Soames Forsyte, his wife Irene and the house he contracts to build for her that would ultimately have such far reaching repercussions. This novel has it all, memorable characters, loves lost and gained, drama, and yes melodrama. It's a novel of family ties, respectability and money. Enjoyed the first novel very much but it was the final novel that was particularly poignant and bittersweet. Well worth a look at.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jemidar

    Because of the ridiculously small font in my copy of this I actually read it on my Kindle in the three separate volumes (The Man of Property, In Chancery & The Forsyte Saga: To Let) it was originally published in. For me, the sum of the three books taken together adds up to way more than if you consider each book individually. I would definitely recommend reading them as one book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Suvi

    The family saga of Forsytes, who at the beginning smell an intruder amongst them (Bosinney the architect, engaged to June), examines how the far-reaching consequences of a certain love affair molds each person and generation in its own way. The solicitor Soames considers his wife Irene as his property, the way you do with beautiful paintings that you parade in front of others. The couple's marriage suffers from Irene's indifference, which Soames of course doesn't understand, because he doesn't The family saga of Forsytes, who at the beginning smell an intruder amongst them (Bosinney the architect, engaged to June), examines how the far-reaching consequences of a certain love affair molds each person and generation in its own way. The solicitor Soames considers his wife Irene as his property, the way you do with beautiful paintings that you parade in front of others. The couple's marriage suffers from Irene's indifference, which Soames of course doesn't understand, because he doesn't see the desire to be free lurking behind her eyes. The elder Jolyon feels lonely and tries to patch things up with his son with the same name, who separated himself from the Forsyte family by leaving his wife and marrying another woman. The younger Jolyon seems different from the rest of the Forsytes, since he doesn't consider life as a matter of business. People are mostly cold and selfish, but nature continues its peaceful existence. London and its surroundings are mostly described through nature: lovers embraced by the stunning fragrance of flowers, starry sky spread above the buildings on an evening of dancing, Robin Hill's lush environment etc. The eternal essence of nature makes you hope that the Forsytes would finally realise what's really important in life, but of course their practical blindness cannot be cured with beauty. The atmosphere of the novels is delicate and lingering. Galsworthy describes perceptively the family's intertwining to the changes of the society, from the Victorian era to the energetic and modern 1920s. Old-fashioned ideals are dusted, but certain people peristently grab into the narrow-minded perception of the priorities of humanity. At first you want to feel sorry for Soames, but after a certain event it's impossible. He has been brought up in a certain kind of way in a certain kind of society, but you still want to slap him, real hard, and shake him up so that he would wake up into the reality. In a long saga like this, some members of the family are naturally lost, but the desire to possess and taking care of own interests remain. Forgiveness, blindness, aging, women's rights... There are a lot of themes, but they form into a balanced bigger picture. A few years ago I saw the newer 21st century miniseries, but after reading this I'm no longer entirely sure that it was actually as good as I remember it to be. How can anyone capture Galsworthy's melancholic family saga into the frames of television or film? I could endlessly try to define the effect this had on me, but I still wouldn't be able to put my feelings into words. After the last page I feel distressed, sad, relieved, wistful. Despite the many flaws the characters had it's extremely difficult to say goodbye after so many weeks of spending time with them. I can always read the whole thing again, but it will not be like it was the first time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I am so blown away by this book that I am almost speechless. What wonderful writing, and what a deft balance of plot line and character portrayal. Few authors get both perfect, but I think Galsworthy has. I was intimidated by the size of this novel, but it reads so well that the pages fly by you and the read is done before you ever want to let go. Soames Forsyte is one of the least likable yet most pitiable characters I have ever encountered. He is smug and arrogant and driven by money and I am so blown away by this book that I am almost speechless. What wonderful writing, and what a deft balance of plot line and character portrayal. Few authors get both perfect, but I think Galsworthy has. I was intimidated by the size of this novel, but it reads so well that the pages fly by you and the read is done before you ever want to let go. Soames Forsyte is one of the least likable yet most pitiable characters I have ever encountered. He is smug and arrogant and driven by money and property, and yet he is so a victim of who he is, who he has been raised to be, and in the end it is himself he hurts the most. I have seldom felt more genuine affection and admiration for any character as that I felt for Old and Young Jolyon. Each so remarkable in his own way and able to make me smile as if I were sitting in his presence and knew him. And then there is Irene. What a complicated and interesting woman! I swung across the pendulum on my feelings for Irene. At moments I blamed her, chastised her, cried for her and loved her. What makes the book so meaningful, to me, is the depth of the souls Galsworthy presents for our dissection and how beautifully human and flawed they all are. I want to drone on about this book, but I do not want to give away anything for those who might decide to read it, and it would be so hard to discuss anything salient without divulging the secrets that lurk at the heart of the novel. Suffice it to say, I would recommend this highly to anyone who enjoys reading about people who might have lived, indeed might still live dressed up in different garb and lured by money more than by love. If I were to compare Galsworthy's writing to anyone, it would be Edith Wharton. Both understood what it was to be in the upper-class and what it was to want to be there, the sacrifices sometimes extracted for that climb, and the hollowness of money when it comes to possess you more than you possess it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    Finally finished! Took a year of picking it up, putting it down, etc. but with my new work-out routine finally finished this care of my Kindle. This was recommended to me by Mike, and considering the number of books he recommends, I had to get it and at least attempt it! The book tells the tale of several generations of Forsytes; their failures, their successes, their families, their relationships, their thoughts, their worries and dreams. The saga contains multiple love relationships, some Finally finished! Took a year of picking it up, putting it down, etc. but with my new work-out routine finally finished this care of my Kindle. This was recommended to me by Mike, and considering the number of books he recommends, I had to get it and at least attempt it! The book tells the tale of several generations of Forsytes; their failures, their successes, their families, their relationships, their thoughts, their worries and dreams. The saga contains multiple love relationships, some doomed, others a tremendous success, still others, happily, never come to fruition. Although the character of Soames Forsyte is the easiest to dislike, by the end of the book I felt a strange sadness for him; he never realized what he did wrong, or why it was wrong. He continues to go through life bitter, feeling victimized, and jealous of others, yet saddened at how the women in his life treated him. He deserved to have someone come up to him, smack him upside the head, explain what he did and why it was wrong, then set him straight, not live in ignorance of his wrong. As he said, however, it was the life into which he was born, the way he was taught to think, the person he was raised to be. Sad, ultimately, that he did as he was born to do, and no better.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Robson

    “The Forsyte Saga, first published under that name in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes (intervening episodes) published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of an upper middle-class British family, similar to Galsworthy's own.[1] Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames “The Forsyte Saga, first published under that name in 1922, is a series of three novels and two interludes (intervening episodes) published between 1906 and 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning English author John Galsworthy. They chronicle the vicissitudes of the leading members of an upper middle-class British family, similar to Galsworthy's own.[1] Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money". The main character, Soames Forsyte, sees himself as a "man of property" by virtue of his ability to accumulate material possessions—but this does not succeed in bringing him pleasure.” I read this book as it was on the list of “1001 Books you Must Read Before you Die”. Trust me …. You really do not need to read this one at all. I cannot think of a single positive thing to say about this book at all. It just rambled on and on and on. One of the most boring books I have ever had the misfortune to open at all. I only finished it because I am so anally retentive about finishing books!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Bojana

    My reading practice has shown that no one can write about Englishmen better than the Englishmen themselves, and this book is prof that confirms my theory again. This book also confirmed that English literature is truly my favorite. Also, this is one of my dad's favorite books of all time, so it have extra value for me. I will not say much about plot, just that characters are very, very good (indicator to me is that I do not love or hate any of them, and yet I love and hate all of them at the same My reading practice has shown that no one can write about Englishmen better than the Englishmen themselves, and this book is prof that confirms my theory again. This book also confirmed that English literature is truly my favorite. Also, this is one of my dad's favorite books of all time, so it have extra value for me. I will not say much about plot, just that characters are very, very good (indicator to me is that I do not love or hate any of them, and yet I love and hate all of them at the same time) and that this book is legitimately classified as classic (#mustread).

  21. 4 out of 5

    Koeeoaddi

    One of those books you want to back up, turn around and read again. Loved it!

  22. 4 out of 5

    ALLEN

    Britisher John Galsworthy spent the better part of his writing career detailing, usually with an ironic eye, the ups and downs of his fictional Forsyte family. This immense volume compiles the first three of those novels, with two "interludes" between the first and second book and the second and third, which aren't so much novellas as connective tissue allowing him to bridge the time between one Forsyte novel ends, and the next begins. As page-counts go, at nearly 1,000 pages this volume falls Britisher John Galsworthy spent the better part of his writing career detailing, usually with an ironic eye, the ups and downs of his fictional Forsyte family. This immense volume compiles the first three of those novels, with two "interludes" between the first and second book and the second and third, which aren't so much novellas as connective tissue allowing him to bridge the time between one Forsyte novel ends, and the next begins. As page-counts go, at nearly 1,000 pages this volume falls between the estimable one-volume Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann and Naguib Mahfouz's The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, and Sugar Street. And like them, this 'Saga' has to do with the advancement and gradual dissolution of middle-class families of their time. It's not my point to precis the plots of these absorbing novels, except to say that even the term "Forsyte" is ironic **(Spoiler)**: for the Forsytes, particularly family patriarch Soames Forsyte, thinks he demonstrates foresight when in fact he wants what he wants when he wants it, and the social and economic conditions which allow 'his' tribe to flourish or languish are subject to forces he knows little about. This suffusing irony must be kept in mind when dealing with this volume. Some may question my assigning this important work a "mere" four stars. The first time I read it, I "got the joke" and viewed it as the fictional replay of the British Empire at and past its peak, in family microcosm, as Galsworthy intended. The second time I read it, the novels proceeded eventfully enough but my irritation with the "learned helplessness" of the Forsyte clan in matters economic and political gnawed on me a little. I believe this characteristic helplessness was deliberate on Galsworthy's part, but I also believe it excludes these three novels from inclusion in the very best of realistic British novels: Jude the Obscure, say, or Bleak House. But nobody should be persuaded from reading the first novel, A MAN OF PROPERTY, and nobody can be blamed for getting thoroughly hooked on the story of shortsighted Soames and his feckless family.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    This was a five star read for me until suddenly it wasn’t. Chronicling three generations of an upper middle class British family it presents a lustrous portrait of the Victorian era bookended by personal restraint and societal constraints. At the center of it all is the hapless Soames Forsyth with his formidable commitment to the creation and perpetuation of familial wealth and position. Ultimately, this is an 850 page treatise on respectability set in quicksand. Soames’ unreciprocated passion This was a five star read for me until suddenly it wasn’t. Chronicling three generations of an upper middle class British family it presents a lustrous portrait of the Victorian era bookended by personal restraint and societal constraints. At the center of it all is the hapless Soames Forsyth with his formidable commitment to the creation and perpetuation of familial wealth and position. Ultimately, this is an 850 page treatise on respectability set in quicksand. Soames’ unreciprocated passion for his wife is disguised by a milieu that regards wives as chattel; unable to possess her, legally he still ‘owns’ her. It is this unrequited passion and his refusal to let go that reverberates across two generations. A product of his time he does not have the emotional dexterity to step into the modern age with its shifting attitudes towards women, materialism, love and art. As Galsworthy points out in his preface, the tragedy of Soames is that he is unlovable but self-aware enough to realize it though powerless to change. So why four stars? Irene. Inciter of innumerable passions and first wife of Soames, she is completely lifeless on the page. We are treated to thirty years of a beauty that never tarnishes but we fail to ever see her put one foot in front of the other. For the novel to fully work we need to see more than her epidermis.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    This volume contains 3 full novels and 2 short stories that chronicle the lives of the upper middle-class Forsyte Family. It begins in 1886 at the height of Victorian England and takes us through the Boer War and World War I to 1920. It is the subtle way Nobel Prize winner Mr. Galsworthy brings us through this rough, transitionary time that makes this saga (and it is a saga) great instead of just good or interesting. The larger scope shows us the changing status of women from possessions to This volume contains 3 full novels and 2 short stories that chronicle the lives of the upper middle-class Forsyte Family. It begins in 1886 at the height of Victorian England and takes us through the Boer War and World War I to 1920. It is the subtle way Nobel Prize winner Mr. Galsworthy brings us through this rough, transitionary time that makes this saga (and it is a saga) great instead of just good or interesting. The larger scope shows us the changing status of women from possessions to fully participating, land owning, voting, independent members of society. On a smaller scale, we see the transition from carriages to automobiles and bicycles; and it takes us through different phases of art and culture. At the heart of the story is a scandalous incident that happens at the very beginning and affects generations. The central figure is the complex, tragic and generally unlikable antagonist which I found facinating and different from other books I've been reading. It also came with a well-researched appendix which helped a ton with the casual references to what was then common cultural knowledge. Ultimately this book is about family and home. Definitely worth the effort and time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Rick Slane

    Almost amazing, it is a thought provoking soap opera. I have spoilers at Indian Summer of a Forsyte and in Chancery This period of English history seemed similar in a material way to the post WWII rise of the American middle-class and its deterioration since the mid 1960's. Just don't expect perfection it's not what I call literary-fiction but vastly superior to Poldark.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    The Forsyte Saga is an endurance read - a sometimes desultory ride through four generations of Forsytes, which makes me cherish the latitude literature has to tell stories at whatever pace it chooses. There came a point midway through the first book (the Saga is comprised of three, with two interstitial novellas) when I settled in and embraced the way this story was going to present the world of an extended family and the changing England around it, and the rewards of that experience, while The Forsyte Saga is an endurance read - a sometimes desultory ride through four generations of Forsytes, which makes me cherish the latitude literature has to tell stories at whatever pace it chooses. There came a point midway through the first book (the Saga is comprised of three, with two interstitial novellas) when I settled in and embraced the way this story was going to present the world of an extended family and the changing England around it, and the rewards of that experience, while subtle, are deep and lasting. It’s been a while since I’ve read Trollope, but he is the author I thought of while reading Galsworthy - not as much for the social commentary, though that is present in The Forsyte Saga, and only partially because of the considerable length, but for the deft handling of a story both so broad and so personal, it would fall to pieces (or never cohere to begin with) in the hands of a less skilled writer. The Forsytes are a family that begins the Saga as part of a newly emerging, wealthy, non-aristocratic class in and around London at the end of the nineteenth century, and ends having established itself as a reputable if fading social institution by the 1920s. In the process, two of its branches turn against one another, ultimately creating a crossing of stars perhaps even more damning than those that plagued the Capulets and Montagues. Everything works. The characters (and there are several handfuls) are finely etched, each with their own complexities and arcs. The relationships are both real and contrapuntal against other relationships, providing all manner of structural and thematic comparisons. The plots are both organic and meticulous, ultimately achieving the self-evidence of a crystal. The themes are both extremely personally experienced by the characters, and writ large against English society as it shifts from Victorian to Edwardian and beyond. I am fond of saying that to be a good writer, one must be a good reader. So I read novels like this one on a number of levels. I treasure the transformational experience of literature, which truly changes the reader at the same time it entertains. I relish the thoughts the book prompts, and the way those thoughts filter into my daily life. And I am attentive to the master class, teasing out the way Galsworthy’s technique strengthens his story - how he tells it, and why he tells it the way he does. One final thought: I was not expecting the solidly feminist message that emerges late in the final section. It had lingered there throughout, but Galsworthy eventually puts the words in one of his character’s mouths (or more properly, that character’s pen): as long as women are expected to enter into marriages without equal standing as their husbands - socially, economically, even sexually - all parties are disadvantaged, and the results can be disastrous. There is nothing didactic about this message; it has been expressed so forcefully throughout the story, one can only nod in agreement and ache for the characters who suffer because of it.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gitte - Bookworm's Closet

    The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good or bad – merely comic, or pathetic. The Beginning: Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight – an upper middle-class family in full plumage. The Forsyte Saga was an amazing journey. At first I found it a bit confusing because of the many characters, and there were parts I found a bit dull. But somewhere during the first part, it really got interesting. The more I see of people the more I am convinced that they are never good or bad – merely comic, or pathetic. The Beginning: Those privileged to be present at a family festival of the Forsytes have seen that charming and instructive sight – an upper middle-class family in full plumage. The Forsyte Saga was an amazing journey. At first I found it a bit confusing because of the many characters, and there were parts I found a bit dull. But somewhere during the first part, it really got interesting. What happens in this first part sets the tone and defines the rest of the novel, as the decisions and mistakes of the first Forsyte generation determine the lives of the next generation. Moreover, we get to see characters who make the same mistakes again and again; characters who never get any wiser. He might wish and wish and never get it – the beauty and the loving in the world! The one thing that defines the plot in The Forsyte Saga is the unhappy marriage between Soames and Irene Forsyte. She, an extremely beautiful woman, cannot love him, while he, a man of property, sees her as his property. Irene develops throughout the novel; she both learns and pays from her mistakes. Soames never seems to learn anything. Could a man own anything prettier than this dining-table with its deep tints, the starry, soft-petalled roses, the ruby-coloured glass, and quaint silver furnishing; could a man own anything prettier than the woman who sat at it? Then again, one almost (almost!!!) can’t help feeling a tiny bit sorry for Soames. He’s just such an idiot! It’s seems he has never learned what love is and how to connect with another human being. He is perhaps one of the most pathetic characters I’ve ever encountered on a page. I would pity him if it wasn’t for his cruelty and abuse. If only he could surrender to the thought: ‘Divorce her — turn her out! She has forgotten you. Forget her!’ If only he could surrender to the thought: ‘Let her go — she has suffered enough!’ If only he could surrender to the desire: ‘Make a slave of her — she is in your power!’ The unhappy marriage splits the family in two and the next generations suffer from the family feud. It’s almost like Romeo and Juliet – but with a huge twist. All in all, the novel was a delicious treat! For more reviews and book talk, please stop by my blog The Bookworm's Closet

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    I don't know how many times I've watched this mini series; it's one of the best series ever. It's sad, heartbreaking, beautiful and so real. Not to talk about the fashion in it and the beautiful Irene, I remember watching it as a teenager with fascination and foreboding, loving Irene but at the same time feeling sorry for her, who would want her lot in life even with her beauty? I would love to own her mourning clothes from episode one, especially the one where she plays the piano when Soames I don't know how many times I've watched this mini series; it's one of the best series ever. It's sad, heartbreaking, beautiful and so real. Not to talk about the fashion in it and the beautiful Irene, I remember watching it as a teenager with fascination and foreboding, loving Irene but at the same time feeling sorry for her, who would want her lot in life even with her beauty? I would love to own her mourning clothes from episode one, especially the one where she plays the piano when Soames proposes with the watch dangling gently from her belt, it would make a hell of a gown, the skirt alone is remarkable!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    The Forstye Saga is a large family saga, spread over three generations of a Victorian family in London. The Forsytes are not titled or noblemen, but they are upper middle class, and they are good at one thing, making money. They aren't so good at many other things, like love and adapting to new ways. I do enjoy sprawling family sagas, and I really enjoyed this one too, but did not love it. John Galsworthy creates a main character, Soames Forsyte, that is just disagreeable to me. I did not think The Forstye Saga is a large family saga, spread over three generations of a Victorian family in London. The Forsytes are not titled or noblemen, but they are upper middle class, and they are good at one thing, making money. They aren't so good at many other things, like love and adapting to new ways. I do enjoy sprawling family sagas, and I really enjoyed this one too, but did not love it. John Galsworthy creates a main character, Soames Forsyte, that is just disagreeable to me. I did not think much of him at all, except I would not want to know him. While he may embody some great aspect of English culture, I found him, almost without exception, very unlikeable. Galsworthy won the Noble prize, based for a large part on this work. Initially it was a trilogy, but he added some segues and the whole thing came together quite well. And I do admire his writing. It is touching and inventive and really uses language beautifully. At over 900 pages it is truly a saga, and one I am glad I followed. And while I did not like the character, I did enjoy the book very much.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maria

    Keeping up with the Kardashians of the 19th century. So much drama. Seriously though, this was pretty great. Also, real as fuck.

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