First published as four separate novels (Some Do Not…, No More Parades, A Man Could Stand Up, and The Last Post) between 1924 and 1928, Parade’s End explores the world of the English ruling class as it descends into the chaos of war. Christopher Tietjens is an officer from a wealthy family who finds himself torn between his unfaithful socialite wife, Sylvia, and his suffragette mistress, Valentine. A profound portrait of one man’s internal struggles during a time of brutal world conflict, Parade’s End bears out Graham Greene’s prediction that "there is no novelist of this century more likely to live than Ford Madox Ford."
"A brilliant, challenging, and valuable work"
Handsome, wealthy, and a veteran of service in India, Captain Edward Ashburnham appears to be the ideal "good soldier" and the embodiment of English upper-class virtues. But for his creator, Ford Madox Ford, he also represents the corruption at society's core. Beneath Ashburnham's charming, polished exterior lurks a soul well-versed in the arts of deception, hypocrisy, and betrayal.
"A tragic, dramatic classic"
On the face of it Captain Edward Ashburnham's life was unimpeachable. But behind the mask where passion seethes, the captain's "good" life was rotting away.
"The saddest story"
The Good Soldier is a 1915 novel by English novelist Ford Madox Ford. It chronicles the tragedy of Edward Ashburnham, the soldier to whom the title refers, and his own seemingly perfect marriage and that of two American friends. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique that formed part of Ford's pioneering view of literary impressionism. Ford employs the device of the unreliable narrator, to great effect as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads you to believe.
Two couples, two marriages; both seemingly perfect, both falling apart. Beneath the surface gentility of the American John Dowell with his wife Florence and the landed grace of Edward and Leonora lie fictions and deceit. There are secret desires, hidden power-games, suicides and madness. Everyone is hiding something; even the narrator can’t be trusted. Brilliantly inventive, tragic and ironic, The Good Soldier is one of the great novels of the 20th century.
The first volume of Parade's End introduces the central characters: Christopher Tietjens, a brilliant, unconventional mathematician; his dazzling but unfaithful wife Sylvia; and the young Suffragette Valentine Wannop. It starts with the cataclysmic meeting of Tietjens and Valentine: a weekend whose violence prefigures the coming war.
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.
"The Clueless Cuckold and the Romantic Philanderer"
A Man Could Stand Up, the third volume of Parade's End, brings Ford's characters to the 'crack across the table of History', across which lie their uncertain post-war futures. Divided into three parts, the novel is a kaleidoscopic vision of a society at climactic moment.
The Last Post, the fourth and final volume of Parade's End, is set on a single post-war summer's day. Valentine Wannop and Christopher Tietjens share a cottage in Sussex with Tietjens' brother and sister-in-law. Through their differing perspectives, Ford explores the tensions between his characters in a changing world, haunted by the experience of war, facing an insecure future for themselves and for England.
This is the second novel in the series of four, depicting the meeting, courtship and ultimate fulfilment of two modern heroes, Christopher Tietjens and Valentine Wannop, despite social condemnation, personal travails and World War I.
The Fifth Queen is Ford Maddox Ford’s masterful trilogy of historical fiction centered on Katharine Howard, a young girl of a proud, noble, and impoverished family who catches the jaded eye of Henry VIII and becomes his controversial fifth Queen.
"same queen, different story"
The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion has been called the perfect novel, and "one of the 15 or 20 best novels produced in English in our [20th] century". Ford contrasts perception verses reality masterfully as he portrays two perfect couples through the narrative of the cuckold American husband, Dowell, a classic unreliable narrator.
Igennem ni år har det amerikanske ægtepar John og Florence tilbragt deres somre på et mondænt kursted i den tyske by Nauheim. Det samme er tilfældet for det engelske par Edward og Leonora. Et venskab er spiret frem mellem ægteparrene i en verden styret af etikette og pli. Ren idyl, tilsyneladende, men krusninger begynder snart at vise sig på den ellers så verdslige overflade.