I hope sometime soon to get around to reading Parade's End as well, although I admit that the length is somewhat daunting.
: I decided (wisely) to follow Sterling's
: recommendation and reread The Good Soldier.
: I'm glad I did. I first read this book in
: November of 2005, when I was passing through
: a strange phase in my way of thinking (kind
: of fed-up with the shortcomings of life). I
: found that the book dealt with a bunch of
: useless, good-for-nothing rich people
: without employment or occupation in the
: world. Therefore, their whole life consisted
: in petty plots, balls, drinking and whoring,
: including adultery as one of the beaux arts.
: My judgment was superficial, and in any case
: the plot and even the characters matter
: little. What counts, what really shines, is
: Ford's writing. Yep, the art of putting
: words together to create a narrative, a
: narrator, and a point of view. John Dowell,
: the narrator, says at some point that his
: psychology is irrelevant to his narrative.
: This is devilishly clever on the part of
: Ford, since the whole point of the book is
: to unveil, layer after layer, Dowell's
: psychology. This time around, I couldn't put
: the book down and the couple of times I did
: so were responses to basic needs like
: sleeping or earning a living. Ford's
: literature is simply magical, and it led to
: my partial reappraisal of the characters.
: First, Florence: undoubtedly a harpy, a
: despicable deceiver and manipulator, but
: hey, it is also true that back in those days
: (and even in our time, celebrities
: excepted), women had to observe a much more
: demanding moral code than men. Her youthful
: escapades marked her as a #####, and the
: discovery of such actions would have made
: her forever unmarketable as a bride. She HAD
: to lie. Nevertheless, she is a bad woman.
: Leonora: the perils of Catholicism, point.
: Edward: jeez, a good guy, married to the
: wrong (emotionally) and right (financially)
: woman. An explosive combination. A man
: stunted in his emotional development who
: ends up a disgrace.
: John: poor guy.
: So, my appreciation of the characters is
: pretty much the same, but that of the
: writing increased tremendously. I'm looking
: forward to reading "Parade's End",
: the whole four novels. Thanks for insisting.