The Good Soldier is a story about the complex social and sexual relationships between two couples - one English, one American - and the growing awareness of American narrator John Dowell of the intrigues and passions behind their orderly Edwardian façade. It is Dowell’s attitude - his puzzlement, uncertainty, and the seemingly haphazard manner of his narration - that makes the book so powerful and mysterious. In Ford’s brilliantly woven tale, nothing is quite what it seems.
Despite its catalog of death, insanity, and despair, this novel has many comic moments and has inspired the work of several distinguished writers, including Graham Greene. Originally published in 1915, The Good Soldier is considered by many to be Ford Madox Ford’s masterpiece.
Ford Madox Ford (1873–1939) was a novelist, poet, literary critic, editor, and one of the founding fathers of English Modernism. He published over seventy books in his lifetime, perhaps most famously The Good Soldier. His books often centered on the conflict between traditional British values and those of the modern industrial society.
Public Domain (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“One of the finest novels of our century.” (Graham Greene)
“The Good Soldier, often regarded as his best work, reflects Ford’s ambivalent fascination with the phenomenon of the English gentleman. The conclusion is anticipated in the well-known opening line: ‘This is the saddest story I have ever heard.’” (New York Times)
“This is the most intriguing, shocking, and original book I have ever read… The Good Soldier is the only book I have ever read and wanted to read again immediately.” (Times, London)
If this is the authors style of writing, I will not try to find another by him. Perhaps others like this dry "story by the fireside" type of novel, but I found it extremely boring, the characters very dry, and the action non-existent...much like an English play.
My next listen will be something with action, drama, character. Maybe a war story!! Anything to revive my listening experience.
I doubt I will listen to him again.
I read other reviews before I purchased this book. Many of them said this was a very good book. Perhaps we just have very different definitions of what is "very good".
The narrator is naive, taking us step by step as he learns the truth about his wife and friends. Along the way he presents a vivid picture of upper class life in Europe before WWI.
Couldn't wait until it finished.None of the characters were likeable.
Like he said it was a very sad story. I think the subject was difficult and i didnt like the way the story was told- jumping all over the place.
I think its just that i prefer a female narrator and that the book was difficult for him to do much with.
The Good Soldier appears on some lists of the best 100 books of the 20th century. Maybe because it was groundbreaking in its day. Now the characters do seem very compelling or interesting and their stories are tedious. Ralph Cosham is a fine reader and does a good job with material that seems quited dated. I recommend Cosham's reading of the Dubliners by james Joyce if you want a match of good narrator and good story. Best thing about The Good Soldier is that it wasn't too long although I was ready for the story to end long before it actually did.
Not sure why such and old average book was made into an audio book, I guess for its time extramarital affairs were fairly exciting reading, of course there are no details in the book that would be too racy for 1915. The narrator was droning on and it was difficult to differentiate one character from the other, they were all lifeless and uninteresting anyway. The book went from past to present to future making it even harder to follow. Only paid $4.95 for the book but it was not worth the price, not sure how anyone could give this book raving reviews.
I would listen to Ralph Cosham again.
The love story was disappointing, the outcome of everyones life. The only positive is the endurance and determination of immoral people.
Not my kind of story.
Performace was okay.
It's been a while since I listened to this book and the fact that I don't remember too much about it pretty much indicates what the experience meant for me.
Some of the detail in how the story resolves. I would have given the reader a little more.
Any complaint I had about his tone disappeared as I realized why. He had the right tone for the story.
This is a book that was very well reviewed but not much is defined in the reviews. The form and structure of the writing create the charm and mystery. I considered giving up in the beginning and often throughout the book. Slightly tedious as it slowly unfolds there was always a hint of something that kept me listening.
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