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Late last week my computer punked out and the hard drive failed, leading me to the student computing center.  There I picked up the most beautiful copy of E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View.  The book is number 27 in the Borzoi Pocket Books series, published by Alfred A. Knopf in the twenties.  The book, originally published in 1908, is about Lucy Honeychurch being way to awesome for stifling Edwardian England.  The first part of the book takes place while she is on vacation with her cousin and chaperon in Florence, and the second when she returns home to her family and friends.

I was really surprised by how much I liked it.  Forster’s style is definitely harder to follow than I expected.  Despite being tricky, the story and characters were so captivating.  In addition to Forster’s involved writing style, there are also a lot of contextual social things that eluded me.  Forster will describe some small social gesture and I have no idea whether someone just got snubbed or flattered.  I also had to constantly look up words I didn’t know.  For example “pension” refers not only to money you get after you retire from years of thankless government service but also to boarding houses in Europe.  I mean, I caught on really quick seeing as how you can’t really stay in a sum of money, but that is just one of many zany, outdated words Forster throws in the mix.

While there were a lot of little things I didn’t pick up on, but I did glean from the book was how much of a colossal ass Cecil Vyse is.  Forster certainly made that clear as day.  He was so cruel to Lucy’s friends, super bossy, and not terribly interesting.  I was so happy when she finally gave him what for.  All he could do was accept, because he hadn’t realized until then how awful he was and how wonderful Lucy is.  Duh, Cecil.  Girls rule, boys drool.

E. M. Forster’s A Room with a View: 4 stars.
Next up: Willa Cather’s Death Comes for the Archbishop.

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