Hmmm…what to make of this book? (MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS…)
I think I read this book more aware of its reputation more than anything. If I would’ve had to study this book for A-Level English or something, to be honest I think I would’ve lost the will to live…
Forster wonderfully portrays the vast differences between the way that the British people lived in India around the Edwardian era, having to live cheek-by-jowl with the Indian people who rightly owned the country. The whole basis of the story is around a young woman called Adela who accuses Indian physician, Dr. Aziz, of sexual assault. The accusation ruins Aziz’s reputation and the reputation of Adela’s fiance who breaks off the engagement.
As to my over all impression of the book, as to that I’m not sure. It has a reputation as a literary masterpiece but personally I think that I’ll have to read it again at some other point because sometimes it just seemed like vignettes of conversations slung together by a plotline.
Having said that, older books have the ability to weave a storyline through conversation which lacks in the modern books because people have to have violence or sex scenes on every page, with little character development.
I have to hand Forster the credit, though, for creating a literary picture of a society where the British dominated. I am sure they adopted similar attitudes when they took over other countries (i.e.: America, Australia etc.) and many of the characters in Passage come across as incredibly racist, almost looking down upon the Indian people and seeing them as lesser human beings.