Saturday, 8 May 2010
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford
DATE READ: March 2010
NOTES: I read this book as it is always mentioned in lists of “must reads” and is included in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.
The Good Soldier turned out to be very much a case of style over substance. John Dowell, the narrator (usually referred to as unreliable) sets out to tell the story of his marriage. But as his knowledge of events changes he has to continually revise what he is revealing to us. Dowell’s wife Florence has been involved in a long affair with Edward Ashburnham (the good soldier of the title) and so his attitude to them both changes as the book proceeds. My problem was that all the characters were very unsympathetic and I simply didn’t care what happened to them and whether they were happy or sad (or even alive or dead).
I was puzzled by the opening sentence: “This is the saddest story I have ever heard.” This implies that the story was related to him when in fact he was personally involved in it from beginning to end. Very confusing.
So now I can tick this off as having been read – but wish I had spent the time elsewhere!