Fall is here, and that means things have been picking up speed for me at work and in my graduate classes. This morning, I made the (probably unwise) decision to let my work and school tasks wait while I finished reading A Room with a View. Sometimes you need to spend Saturday morning in bed with a good book, alternating between reading and dozing.
Though it doesn’t look like it from the rather gloomy painting on the cover of this edition of Forster’s novel, A Room with a View is a love story and a critique of Edwardian society. This is said to be Forster’s most optimistic book, and I would have to agree based on my limited knowledge of Forster’s work. I’ve read Howards End a few times, and I really enjoyed that novel, but I will say that I enjoyed A Room with a View more.
The novel is easy to read, and Forster’s dialogue is clear and witty. The novel begins with the main character, Lucy Honeychurch, on a trip to Italy, where she and her chaperone are given a room without a view for their stay in Florence. An older man staying at the same hotel, Mr. Emerson, proposes that they change rooms so that the ladies might have a view of the city. From there, the story unfolds with some help from coincidence and romance.
If you’re looking for a “classic” book to read that isn’t too difficult or overwhelmingly long, I’d highly recommend starting with Forster. The book is clever and very “quoteable.” Here are a few of my favorite highlights:
Life is easy to chronicle but bewildering to practice.
It isn’t possible to love and part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.
It’s definitely worth a lazy Saturday morning! Next on my to-do list is to watch the 1985 film version starring Helena Bonham Carter and Maggie Smith. I’m excited to read Forster’s A Passage to India soon, as it’s said to be his best novel. I’m hoping that Howards End and A Room with a View were good warm ups!
Have you read any E.M. Forster? What are your go-to Saturday reads?
UPDATE: I’ve just realized that this is my 100th post on Book 50! Fun!