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I always love Forster - his chill eye, his settings that are almost characters, his way of saving the full impact of the plot until the end. This was no disappointment. The narrator was excellent and was never too fast or too slow, nor did he perform caricatures, but really gave himself over to the roles of both the male and female characters. Visitors to Italy will also love the way Forster captures the Italian landscape, art and people.
The synthesis of thought and feeling that makes Forster's later work so compelling is missing here, and the storyline descends into bathos (I literally rolled my eyes during the scene with the Baby's milk). I almost wish I hadn't read this book, because now I keeping thinking I detect untrammeled sentimentality around the edges of scenes in other books by Forster, like when you keep thinking you smell something bad after you actually have. Edward Petherbridge reads expressively but even less intelligibly than he did for Howard's End, which make this somewhat confusing story even harder to follow.
This is the best narration of this book, however in the last few minutes of chapter 2 the sound is occasionally but repeatedly significantly distorted.
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