The three novels that make up this trilogy have long been recognized as masterpieces of 20th-century literature, and Galsworthy as one of its leading exponents. But don’t let that be the reason you put off listening to this wonderful work. There are passion and lust in these pages, high art and low comedy, and unthinking violence that ride alongside ever-correct manners. Scandal, tragedy, despair, rape, accidental death, marriage, remarriage and a healthy leavening of births all unfold against a rolling backdrop of a world war.
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A wonderful and engrossing story
I would wholeheartedly recommend this book. It is a nearly contemporaneous account of the attitudes of a sector of Victorian society which has strong parallels in our own times. We are familiar with dramas of the "upstairs, downstairs" style, involving the upper classes and their servants, or Dickensian explorations of the injustices of the age. This story is of the upper middle classes, lawyers, architects, landlords and auctioneers. The authenticity rings through, and links those times with our own.
Old Jolyon Forsyte, whose humanity and love for his son win out in the end over the judgementalism od his peers.
Neil gives a dry, quite clipped performance. I could see that it might not be to everyones taste, but it was definitely to mine. The book is written in a very concise way, such that every word counts, and yet invites the reader to consider the values on display by the Forsytes. Neil conveys this, and ultimately his performance is all the more moving because of this.
Ownership or Love
I found it hard to get into the book, and ended up listening to the first chapter several times over. Every detail needs to be listened to and absorbed. Once the details of the cast of characters sank in and I knew who was who, I was then firmly hooked.
Odd choice of narrator
There are a lot of characters and Neil Hunt's performance doesn't help distinguish them.
I wouldn't make a film about anything - it's not my line of work!
The narrator is an odd choice - he sounds English yet pronounces some words like an American would; I can only assume he is actually American. (eg: vase = 'vayce', leisure = 'lee-sure', dubious = 'doobious', z = 'zee'.) If you can get past this, he's not bad - and thankfully such words don't crop up very often. I do wonder if a little less staid narration would be better, but the story is about hopelessly staid people so maybe he's ideal in that respect. I just don't understand why an apparently American narrator was chosen.