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The Forsyte Saga | [John Galsworthy]

The Forsyte Saga

The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.
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Publisher's Summary

The three novels that make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.

The Forsyte Saga is a sequence of novels comprising The Man of Property (1906), In Chancery (1920), and To Let (1921) with two interludes, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" (1918) and "Awakening", published together in 1922.

The saga begins with Soames Forsyte, a successful solicitor who buys land at Robin Hill on which to build a house for his wife Irene and future family. Eventually, the Forsyte family begins to disintegrate when Timothy Forsyte, the last of the old generation, dies at the age of 100.

In these novels, John Galsworthy documented a departed way of life, that of the affluent middle class that ruled England before the 1914 war. The class is criticized on account of its possessiveness, but there is also nostalgia because Galsworthy, as a man born into the class, could also appreciate its virtues.

(P)2005 Blackstone Audiobooks

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (276 )
5 star
 (121)
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4.3 (90 )
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3 star
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Story
3.8 (93 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-02-06
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-02-06 Member Since 2002

    Kay

    HELPFUL VOTES
    117
    ratings
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    28
    13
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    "A delight"

    I came to this one with no prior exposure to Galsworthy. Had never seen the BBC version or read it. I expected a Merchant & Ivory experience. I was so intrigued to find that, instead of being melodramatic or stuffy, it's a wickedly funny satire. I grinned from start to finish. The narrator is perfect. This type of humor has to be delivered deadpan. It is a family saga with all the tragedies and connections that entails, and the plot is wonderful. I'm surprised, however, that nobody had ever told me it's funny. Oh well. As James Forsyte would say, "I don't know. Can't tell. Nobody tells me ANYTHING."

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EJH Henderson, NV 07-06-05
    EJH Henderson, NV 07-06-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    121
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    187
    16
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    Overall
    "A great work."

    This is a long audiobook you will be sorry to see end. The characters are wonderfully developed and the era is convincingly described. The interlude "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" is one of the most moving audio books I have heard.
    It takes about thirty minutes to get used to the narrator and the long list of characters. But after that you are hooked.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Nashua, NH, USA 04-02-08
    Michelle Nashua, NH, USA 04-02-08 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    47
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    17
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    0
    0
    Overall
    "AUGH!!!! This Reader is TERRIBLE"

    I was so looking forward to this months credit because I have wanted to listen to this book.. it has everything I love in an audio book.. and the reviews seemed good...

    the story may be good.. but I will never know! I can't stand the reader. My computer voice simulator has more expression and tone and LIFE.

    There is no life to the reading... no feeling... no emotion. The reader would be better suited to a technical manual.

    I hate to give a poor review to a story with such promise. But the reader makes it impossible to do otherwise.

    This is the 1st audio book from the hundreds i own that I am sure I will not listen to. I couldn't past the first 35 minutes.. how can I do 42 hours of this.

    :(
    Mikki

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-10-05
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-10-05 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    105
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    178
    44
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    1
    Overall
    "Mesmerizing"

    Although some people might be at first daunted by the length of this book, by the end of it they might possibly be like me and wishing for it to go on. I ended up purchasing a copy of the book so that I could have a copy of the family tree. This really helped in the beginning to keep track of the characters. As another reviewer mentioned, it took a bit of time to get used to the voice of the reader, but by the end I don't think anyone could have done a better job. The story itself is terrific, a wonderful glimpse into those times. This is truly great literature and a most entertaining listen. I highly recommend this book. You will find yourself thinking about it even when you aren't listening to it.

    13 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John-Mark Stensvaag Iowa City, IA USA 10-07-05
    John-Mark Stensvaag Iowa City, IA USA 10-07-05 Member Since 2002

    John-Mark

    HELPFUL VOTES
    174
    ratings
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    8
    5
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    0
    Overall
    "Stunning"

    It's pretty hard to top "War and Peace." And I guess I'd have to say that the Tolstoy book is still my all time favorite. But after now listening to at least 100 audiobooks over the past few years, I would have to put The Forsyte Saga right at the top. Lovely writing. Beautiful creation of three generations of the Forsyte family. An arc of the story that is ultimately satisfying. I am now looking for other stories with a similar arc--i.e., multi-generational story telling. This was a magical listening experience for me. Stick with it, even though the opening segments may seem daunting in naming so many characters. The payoff is wonderful.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil Maple Valley, WA, USA 07-25-05
    Neil Maple Valley, WA, USA 07-25-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    Overall
    "The Forsyte Saga"

    I thoroughly enjoyed all 42 hours of this book. I was quite sad when I finished it, having felt attached to the characters in the book. I guess that is what you get when you read a classic such as this. The author is a true master at painting a picture of his story and making you feel as though you are part of the drama. I highly recommend this book!!!

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 03-18-08
    connie Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada 03-18-08

    trying to see the world with my ears

    HELPFUL VOTES
    3408
    ratings
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    395
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    1493
    138
    Overall
    "My most pleasant download surprise"

    I had not expected much when I downloaded this and am not sure why I did -- Nostalgia perhaps due to a vague memory of late 1960-ish B&W BBC series I saw as a child when we had only one TV channel -- but I loved every second. I ended up listening to all nine novels of the Forsyte Chronicles (3 novels X 3) but liked the three in this collection and the first two of the next trilogy best. I'd rate those first five of the Chronilces as five star reads, with most of the remaining getting a strong four stars from me. I ended up renewing my Audible account early to obtain them.

    I expected some kind of well-written soap opera, but the series turned out to be literary social commentary through the narration of events and character response. Who would have thought we could be brought to care so much about a character like Soames? I can understand why Galsworthy won the Nobel.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Celia New Orleans LA 12-05-06
    Celia New Orleans LA 12-05-06 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    84
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    176
    22
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    Overall
    "Magical!"

    From the first moment, I was transported back into another time by this very long and very poignant story. I know someone has complained bitterly about the reader, but I found the monitone reading perfectly suited the tone of the story. Of every book I've listened to, this is by far and away my favorite.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Randy Alma, NE, USA 06-27-05
    Randy Alma, NE, USA 06-27-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "A Victorian Delight"

    A unique and enticing look into the period. An in-depth tale into a wealthy family of the age. Soames Forsyte " The Man of Property" is a disagreeable yet upright figure. Irene the beautiful "Lady in Gray" is a captivating warm personality. Her story is tragic, one of lost love. The story intertwines with Irene's life and the men who want to possess and own her. I felt the narrator did a superb job.

    11 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L New York NY, United States 11-12-07
    L New York NY, United States 11-12-07 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    92
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    55
    15
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    "Great book, great narrator!"

    I really loved this book. I think it is so interesting just for the characters and plot, but it is also very interesting historically to learn about edwardian england. The narrator does a great job and is easy to understand and has a pleasant voice. I cannot imagine better value for the money than these many hours of good writing that will engage on so many levels. I have come to care about the characters and what happens to them. I love a long book like this that stays interesting and lets you get to know people over an extended period of time. I wish the other volumes in this audio series were narrated by the same narrator but I am glad to find this book on audible.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 50 results PREVIOUS125NEXT
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  • Angela
    Penge, London, United Kingdom
    7/4/10
    Overall
    "not for me"

    I really fancied escaping into the Forsyte Saga, but could barely get past the first few sentences in the sample. This narrator has succeeded in producing the worst rendition of a book I have heard in a long while.

    I hate that about audio books - sometimes the narrators don't seem to have a clue how to put any natural expression in. I won't be buying this and reminds me to be extra careful to listen to the samples in future. I would give it no stars but was forced to pick one!

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Tiffany
    Andover, United Kingdom
    3/12/09
    Overall
    "I don't know about the content..."

    I was really looking forward to this epic listen! But I just couldn't get on with the narrator - found his voice incredibly irritating - so gave up about half an hour in. Would urge others to listen to the short excerpt to judge for themselves whether they feel the same.
    If you don't find him grating, go ahead and purchase this - it is excellent value for a classic and lengthy novel(s)

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Nelly_dog
    Fife
    11/9/05
    Overall
    "Great Stuff"

    This is excellent value for one book credit. The success of the TV dramatisations is testament to the quality of the stories on offer here. Admittedly, it is a little soap opera like at times but it is very gripping listening, once you get past the first few minutes of introduction and into the story proper.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Valerie
    Stanmore, Middlesex, United Kingdom
    3/16/10
    Overall
    "one of the most boring readings I have heard"

    This was indeed good value for a monthly purchase, and the writing is excellent, but the slow flat interpretation tempted me again & again to abandon the book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Cynthia
    Hinckley, United Kingdom
    3/9/07
    Overall
    "The Forsyte Saga"

    I don't want to listen to anything else read by this actor. He spoiled an excellent book.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • graham
    lincoln, United Kingdom
    6/27/11
    Overall
    "A MAN A PASSION A CLASSIC"

    LISTENING WHILE DRIVING THIS SAGA IS SUPERB ACCOMPANIMENT, INSIGHTFUL QUITE FAST PACED AFTER THE FIRST CHAPTER AND DEEPLY THOUGHT PROVOKING CONCERNING BOTH MODERN CAPITALSIM, LIFESTYLE AND RELATIONSHIPS, I WAS GRIPPED THROUGHOUT. A small down side is that the narrator is clear but a little ponderous. I found that playing my ipod at "faster setting" soon amended this and I rapidly became accustomed to his style. I cannot believe that such an old book can be so relevant and evocative.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Alice
    Derby, United Kingdom
    4/7/11
    Overall
    "The Forsyte Saga"

    The tone of the reader reflects perfectly the tone of the author and of the period. To maintain interest throughout such a long work is a real achievement.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Mary
    Radnage, United Kingdom
    10/27/11
    Overall
    "Narrator Choice"

    The choice of reader must have been made by someone who thought that the Forsyte Saga was an episode of Noggin the Nog or Wagner's Ring Cycle!

    I'm sure Fred Williams is a highly talented actor/narrator, but I suspect that even he might agree that the Forsyte Saga needs to be read by someone with a rather lighter touch. The delivery was so inappropriate that I was unable to listen beyond the first few pages and, were I able, I would have already taken this 'book' off to the charity shop!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Paulina
    W?ngiSwitzerland
    12/14/08
    Overall
    "Depressing!"

    Wonderfully written, such rich expression of thought. But the thoughts.... Excruciating nihilism, human nature at its worse hopelessness. If you desire an uplifting reading, don't read this. The reader does a great job at pushing the depressing picture of English society at the turn of last century. All is told in this mournful voice. It makes you want to scream at times. Even the description of the \"good characters\" is depressing.
    It was painful to listen until the end. Nothing good happens to anyone in this book. Recommended only for times when nothing can spoil your mood. Definitely a good plunge into beautifully written English.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Anna
    London, United Kingdom
    1/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Amazing performance by Fred Williams"
    What made the experience of listening to The Forsyte Saga the most enjoyable?

    What might feel somewhat unnatural and too elaborated in this drama in the beginning, thanks to the performer, becomes a truly enjoyable and insightful experience. By the end I new far more about Victorians, why the novel won Nobel Prize and why it is beloved by generations of British readers.


    What other book might you compare The Forsyte Saga to, and why?

    Being Russian I couldn't help comparing Galsworthy with great Russian writers. I would try to listen to the translation of the 'War and Piece' right after


    What does Fred Williams bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    Amazingly precise intonations and subtle meanings.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    The 'Summer interlude' is very touching especially with this performance


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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