Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Forsyte Saga (73rd Book)

It took me quite a few months to read The Forsyte Saga, but I really enjoyed it. The funniest thing is that I couldn't tell you why. I didn't find the novel terribly enlightening. I don't feel like a better person for having read it, the themes of property and beauty didn't catch me but the book is highly interesting. I think it is because the characters are so fascinating. The Forsyte Saga follows the Forsyte family from the great patriarchs to the younger generation. The younger generation is struggling as returns on investments get less and less. The debate throughout the novel is about the value of owning property houses, women and things like art. The younger generation begins to realize that not all your worth can come from the things that you own.

Here are few of the interesting characters:

June Forsyte- one of the young Forsyte's who is a gilted lover. Her lover is stolen by one of her cousin's wives and she remains a spinster who likes to take on "lame ducks" in the form of up and coming artists.

Soames Forsyte- married to Irene who doesn't love him and marries him out of need. She is eventually has an affair with June Forsyte's fiancé and leaves Soames. He is a cold, lost man who can't understand why he is not loved. He is interested in things of beauty and collects pictures, but is thoroughly immersed in the need to own property. He wants an heir more than anything else to make his life and money worth something.

Jolyon Forsyte- a man who has an affair and marries a maid who he loves. For some reason he is lovable even though he leaves his wife. He has children called Holly and Jolly and leads a content life even though he is excommunicated from the family. He is almost the anti man of property. He eventually takes Irene under his wings when Soames begins to haunt her and attempt to get her back. He is truly in love with her and they have a happy life after the death of his second wife

There are several more members of the family but those were the most interesting to me. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters and even went so far as to start watching the BBC miniseries on Netflix. It was an interesting  show, but life got to busy so I never finished it.

I would highly recommend this novel as one of the most fascinating novels about character. None of the characters are flat in this novel, and you really get to see what makes them tick.

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