THIS REVIEW IS NOT FOR NOVEL, WHICH I LOVE. IT'S FOR BOOK FORMAT ONLY. If you are buying the edition with lady in white dress and lilac sash on cover (easy way to describe), which was published 2017 by Okitoks Press, please be aware that only the book size is "large format" not the text. The font has to be something like 8 pt. and is impossible for me to read comfortably. Putting that size font into a book the size of a piano music book is a strange idea of large format! I read alot of reviews before choosing this one, and struck out. Finding same reviews for different editions very frustrating. I'm missing the days of abundant book stores to browse.
I have been reading sections of this book for almost 55 years. With each reading, and definitely at this time of life, I can appreciate each and every character. Forsyte is Galworthy's synonym for all that England aspired to in his day. It could be adapted to be all that the US grew to admire. But, in my opinion, it is not so much about the theme of OWNERSHIP or PROPERTY as it is a perfectly calibrated view of life as it passes through us. The references to nature, to Beauty, to the appreciation of Family, Property not for possession, but for what one can Gift to others grow throughout the novel for each character. Reading the novel four times in a lifetime offers one insight into our own stage of life, our own values, and how we grow to describe Beauty.
Having recently seen the Forsyte series on PBS, I chose to get the complete works when offered to me by Amazon. First of all, I must acknowledge how wonderful it is to read such masterful writing. No one writes like this today. This writing is a symphony of words. The plot and the character development was exceptional. I found it hard to put it down and when I wasn't reading I was daydreaming about the characters. The TV series was very faithful to the book therefore being able to pick the actors was for me a plus. Simply a great reading experience.
Terrific read. The book, as usual, is much more detailed and delicate than the BBC series ( which I also enjoyed). I have already recommended it to family and friends. I would note that the particular format of this book made it more difficult to read than a more standard book format. The pages are large, wide and filled with quite small printing making it too easy to lose one's place. I found the writing and story enthralling enough to persevere, but others may be sorely daunted. The writer deserves a 5 star rating; the format less.
I had never read any Galsworthy before. Very different style indeed! Not a light read. The 'sexual content' rating is based on sexual content for the time it was written; by today's standard this is totally tame.
Family secrets, dirty little problems, and a dash of adultery, scandal and forbidden love. Soap opera? Well, sort of -- it's Nobel Prize Winner John Galsworthy's sprawling family epic "The Forsyte Saga." While it has a distinctly soapy flavor, "Saga" retains its dignity and look at turn-of-the-century mores and society.
The Forsyte family is determinedly regal and hard-nosed, almost to the point of a fault. One staid family member, Soames Forsyte, becomes obsessed with the beautiful but poor Irene, and finally gets her to marry him. Well, their marriage doesn't work. Soames is frustrated that Irene shuts him out of her life and her bed -- even more so when he learns that she is in love with sexy, arty architect Bosinney, who is building them a new house.
Soames rapes Irene and ruins Bosinney. His marriage falls into ruins, and Bosinney is killed in a car accident. So Irene leaves permanently, living in an apartment by herself. Then Soames announces that he wants to marry a pretty French girl, Annette, and Irene weds Soames' cousin. But the problems of the older generation get inherited by the younger one -- Soames's daughter falls madly in love with Irene's son, but their parents' secret pasts doom their love.
Three novels ("A Man of Property," "In Chancery," and "To Let"), connected with two short stories ("Indian Summer of a Forsyte" and "Awakening") -- it's a pretty big story, sprawling over three generations and four decades. It's a bit soapy, with all the scandal and family weirdness, but the dignified writing keeps it from seeming sordid.
It's a credit to Galsworthy that he can communicate so much without ever getting into his characters' heads. He displays emotion in undemonstrative people like Irene through little mannerisms and twitches. At the same time, he can give us heartrending looks into aging patriarch Old Jolyon's lonely mind. His writing is very nineteenth century, dignified and with plenty of furniture/clothing details. It's pretty dense, but all right once you get used to it.
Galsworthy was a solid supporter of women's rights, and you can see in Irene and Soames' relationship -- Soames, who sees his wife as another piece of property, and the determined Irene who only wants her own happiness, but can't afford to live on her own. Their respective kids Jon and Fleur are nice but kind of boring beside their darker, more intense parents.
For a look at the social shifts that helped define the twentieth century, take a look at the "Forsyte Saga." Or if you just want to soak in a tale of family woe, love, hate and dark secrets, "Saga" still works.