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The Forsyte Saga Audiobook

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

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3.9 (339 )
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3.9 (143 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Michelle 04-02-08
    Michelle 04-02-08 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-02-06
    Kay in DC Washington, DC United States 03-02-06 Member Since 2012

    Kay

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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."

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EJH 07-06-05
    EJH 07-06-05
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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
  •  
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-10-05
    Adrienne Camp Connell, CA, United States 09-10-05 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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 10-07-05

    John-Mark

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    "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
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    "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

    Narrative makes the world go round.

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    "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 <b>loved</b> 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 2006
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    "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
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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
  •  
    Novie E. Lee 08-01-13 Listener Since 2002
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    "Knowing the difference finally!"

    I now know the difference between a good book and a GREAT one. I have just finished the Forsyte Saga, and my eyes were opened wide. Just prior to that I read a couple of Kate Morton novels which I enjoyed, but let me tell you, sweetie, they just don't stand up in comparison to John Galsworthy's epic masterpiece.

    I have owned this book for some time and don't always listen immediately after purchasing them for one reason or another. I give it a try, and then put it down if it's problematic. In this case, I think it was the narrator, Fred Williams. He reads so slowly, however precisely, and I couldn't handle the plodding pace. So, with the new Audible app I sped it up to 1.25% listening speed, And very shortly thereafter I was immersed in 19th century England up to my eyeballs.

    What a great story! What compelling characters! I could not get enough of this book. It's over now, and I am sad because I want to know what has happened to everyone. I ran the gamut of emotions listening to this book. When it wasn't possible for me to listen, I was still engrossed. I thought about my own father who was born in 1905 and tried to compare his lifestyle growing up during the Forsyte's timeline. The manners, the morals, the injustices--all so different for my father's generation and for mine. There is simply no comparison to today, a hundred plus years later.

    This is a story about a family. Upper middle class, proper and all that, divided so deeply about one way of life (the popular view) and another way (a burgeoning ideal of how life could be) which is rather alien to the establishment. John Galsworthy was born into this upper middle class environment, and gives great detail about how people thought and acted as they did.

    Anyway the split in the family grows larger and larger, and then one day, two or three generations down the line, things happen which eventually start the decline of the old view and there it ends, leaving you to guess what happens next.

    Such a long, long book, but every single sentence is a keeper. You know what? I eventually put the speed back to 1.00 because I didn't want it to quit. I guess I got used to Fred Williams' narration (or he got better over the course of the book) because I didn't mind at all.

    This is a GREAT book, whether you read it, listen to it, or watch it dramatized, and I now know the difference! I actually watched the Netflix version while reading it, and checked out the Gutenberg Project online version of it, looked up the history of the Boer War, and checked out Queen Victoria's funeral. I imagine you will, too, but nothing compares with the book! You have to read this book!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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