Customer Reviews

212
4.2 out of 5 stars
A Room with a View
Format: Mass Market PaperbackChange
Price:$6.95 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

137 of 146 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2010
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The book itself gets 5 stars from me.

This Kindle edition is atrocious - it is missing entire passages. I think it is only sections involving quotes from another work; I stopped reading because I didn't want to spoil the pleasure in re-reading this wonderful book.

Same problem with the Kindle edition of Howards' End, btw. In that case, actual narrative seemed to be missing.
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
102 of 108 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A ROOM WITH A VIEW depicts a young Englishwoman's adventure trying to come to grips with the conflict between her desires and society's expectations. Lucy Honeychurch is a well-bred young middle class girl on holiday in radiant Florence. She comes from a family overconcerned with respectability and is therefore overprotected by a dessicated spinster named Charlotte Bartlett. One wonders if Forster had in mind a more famous Charlotte B. when he drew Lucy's protector, a woman "much discomfited by [any] unpleasant scene[s]." Forster playfully tosses barbs at this don't-let-the-servants-hear-you world the English try to maintain on foreign soil. Less playful with sanctimonious Puritans or hypocritical clergymen, Forster lets them foil themselves.
Under no circumstances will Miss Bartlett allow Lucy to pursue (or even examine) her affection for the handsome young George Emerson--his father is far too unconventional with his modern notions about honesty and freethinking. Duty must reign . . . mustn't it? Ah, that wild transitional phase between the late-Victorians and the early-Moderns!
Forster writes gently and calmly, but with a passion for life and love welling up beneath the surface. A ROOM WITH A VIEW is a lovely book, vital with the force of a sensitive and empathetic mind. There's even more to this book than it seems--highly recommended!
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Concerning Lucy's passionate playing of Beethoven upon the piano, the Rev. Mr. Beebe once said, "If Miss Honeychurch ever takes to live as she plays, it will be very exciting--both for us and for her." At the time of the remark, Lucy is a very conventional young woman, with perhaps occasional rebellious thoughts. The Emersons, father and son, are somehow not quite acceptable in her social circle, and though George is so bold as to kiss her impulsively, she is determined to forget him. Instead she finally gives in to the repeated proposals of Cecil Vyse, a thoroughly fashionable young gentleman, if not very exciting. So the stage is set for this splendid satire on the English social strata of the early part of the 20th century, a time when the formal structure of the Victorian era was beginning to fray at the edges. Vyse is a delightfully drawn male chauvinist prig; nobody likes him, but everyone is willing to accept him, and Lucy convinces herself that she is in love with him. However, Vyse's own penchant for getting his way by playing rather cruel practical jokes brings the Emersons back into the picture. Confronted by the contrast between the not quite classy but intelligent, thoughtful (and bold) George Emerson and the arrogant, boorish, but elite Cecil Vyse, Lucy finally decides to live as she plays Beethoven, with exciting results. This early work of Forster's is a pure delight, with a light and well-controlled tone throughout. Although there would be a danger of stereotyping to illustrate the different social classes, Forster skillfully makes the characters well rounded and unpredictable, as in the scene when Lucy breaks her engagement to Vyse, expecting his feelings of masculine superiority to precipitate an argument, but instead being somewhat dismayed when he behaves as a perfect gentleman. Although HOWARDS END is usually rated above A ROOM WITH A VIEW, I prefer this slighter, but consummately well-done, novel.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on April 8, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This charming little novel which has recently celebrated its centennary can be easily put down as a period piece. E M Forster foresaw it already in his note which he added to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first edition. Yet a prospective reader would be most wrong to disregard it. There is a lesson here which still needs to be learned by many.
The title gives away some of the content - the main heroine, Lucy Honeychurch, needs to get away from the stuffy atmosphere of late Victorian England in which she was brought up - the symbol of which is for EMF the room. Her escape takes place in stages - the first of them is her trip to Italy where she finds landscapes and people most different from those she was accustomed to. It is also there that she meets the man she falls in love with, George Emerson. Yet these changes come too quickly for her. Lucy yields to the demands of her chaperone and escapes back to England, finding on the way a more appropriate suitor, Cecil Vyse.
When the three young people meet again in England, a fight for Lucy's soul begins anew. Lucy has to decide whether she prefers Cecil who will keep her under his protection in his house as a work of art for others to admire, or George with whom she will have to face the challenges of the world but be free.
What is the lesson for us today in a world where there are neither chaperones nor stage-coaches? We also must make similar decisions - choose freedom which always comes at a cost or safety for which we must pay with our soul. We choose between being true to ourselves or satisfying the demands of others. Lucy's adventures may serve as a perfect food for thought for those facing seemingly dissimilar but actually very similar decisions. It is the more valuable as Forster does not show easy decisions or easy solutions. The happy ending never comes free and yet still it is worth striving for.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 1998
Format: Paperback
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Best of all, this is one of the very very few books to be made into a movie and come out unscathed, perhaps even improved in certain aspects. If you can't stand to take a chance and read it, see the film at least.
Yes, the premise is somewhat similar to Madame Bovary. However, I found the difference between them to be that I hated Mme. Bovary and adored A Room With a View. To clarify, there is a part in the latter where Forster, discussing some sonatas of Bethoveen writes, "they can triumph or despair as the player decides, and Lucy had decided that they should triumph." Flaubert plays on the side of despair, while Forster, like his character, "loved to play on the side of Victory."
All of the characters are vividly drawn. They speak as real people speak and act as real people act, or once did. The language and mores have changed since the Victorian era, but they are motivated by similar things to those that motivate people today and they are fully-developed.
Forster has the knack of describing his characters in a few well-turned sentences that tell you all you need to know to picture them. They get themselves into situations you can believe, and they do not always act in their own best interests, just like real life.
I have re-read this book several times over the past 10 years, and what strikes me is how much detail Forster managed to sneak in with out making the book feel weighted or heavy. It is a light read, and yet every time I pick it up to reread it I find some new passage I had overlooked previously, each lovlier than the one before. He also makes some very interesting philosophical statements, without bogging down plot or pacing. Forster was obviously influenced by the Transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau), one of the main characters is even named Emerson, so if they are of interest to you, this may be as well.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have long been a fan of Jane Austen and have become so spoiled by her wonderful writing and complex yet perfect sentences that I seldom find anything enjoyable by comparison. However, "A Room with a View" was one of the most wonderful non-Austen books I have ever read. I laughed out loud many times at the way Forster worded things, especially the chapter titles (eg. "How Ms. Bartlett's Boiler was so Tiresome"). At the beginning, he seemed to be making fun of his characters - at their simple-mindedness and lack of depth - but then he commenced to transform them (mainly Lucy) and make them into wonderfully admirable people. It seemed that justice was served to Cecil when he served as the means through which Lucy and George were finally united. I enjoyed every minute of this book but would recommend it only to those who would appreciate it and who would be reading it by choice.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on October 8, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While not approaching the magnitude of A Passage to India, or even Howard's End, A Room with a View offers an entertaining enough, if not rare, look at the middle class British (traveler's) life. Consumed with the self-discipline and propriety dictated by the national character and emulation of the upper classes, Lucy Honeychurch finds herself between her stodgy cousin's checks and George Emerson's unconventional, bold, and straightforward sincerity. In the backdrop, just as in Howard's End, is the burgeoning realization of female identity and the possibility of greater freedoms.

Forster creates rather familiar characters in the oppressed but promising Lucy, stuffy and financially dependent Charlotte, and traditional, sarcastic snob Cecil, whom Lucy opts to marry after several rejections, in order to avoid confusion about her own future and the doubts the Emersons have introduced. George Emerson, of course, is the modern knight--uncouth and unsmooth--but dangerous and attractive on a visceral level.

What makes Room with a View special is not the content--covered territory, or the dialogue--witticisms and comedy of manners, but Forster's special insight into the characters that lets us know eveything they are and everything they can be, without deeply probing the people. It is a respect and dignity he grants his creations that makes them real.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of those rare books made into a film, where the film actually does justice to the story. It is almost as good as the book.. almost. Which means it is a very very fine movie, in my opinion the finest thing that Merchant Ivory ever did.

I first read A Room with a View ten years ago when I was hitch hiking across England for the first time. I spent a week there, on 100$, walking and hitching throughout the night, sleeping in parks and fields during the day, waking up periodically to read snatches of the book. It was the perfect traveling companion for that adventure.

I fell in love with Lucy (the heroine of the story) - she is hard to describe, a sort of expressive cipher - on the surface she is a somewhat callow, bored teen aged girl.. But as Mr. Beebe the perceptive Parson immediately notices, there is something extraordinary about Miss Honeychurch... There's hidden passion there. And EM Forster is the master at presenting her to us, along with the rest of his subtly drawn cast of characters.

Forster thought her intriguing, himself. Forster was a lifelong bachelor, and a closeted homosexual. He usually treats his female characters with a certain dispassionate distance. But Lucy was his favorite of them all, and she stayed with him. In fact, he wrote a short story detailing her later life after the end of the novel.**

So, this story, like everything Forster wrote is a comedy of manners focusing on the mores of the early twentieth century English middle class, highlighted against a foreign background. It is witty, philosophically interesting, and rife with good companionship. These characters will inhabit your imagination.

If you like Jane Austen, George Eliot, or even stuff like Evylyn Waugh or Oscar Wilde, you will probably enjoy this book.

[**The four page sequel is titled "A View without a Room," and it was published in 1958 in a private edition, which is now very hard to find. It was reprinted though, in the Penguin Modern Classics edition of a "Room with a View," which is where I read it.

The text can also apparently be found in the New York Times Book Review of 27th July 1958.]
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 22, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm embarrassed to say that I had avoided Forster's work because I had wrongly assumed that, given the time in which he was writing (early 20th century), his fiction would surely be stuffy, dry and dull. I was completely wrong. In fact, this short novel's charm stems from it's casual, leisurely pace and the surprisingly winning chances it takes in terms of style (the chapter titles, Forster's penchant to pause the action and speak directly to the reader).
Others have noted disatisfaction with the ending. I partially agree. I think the conclusion does wrap up things a little too neatly. But since this is an early Forster effort, it's understandable that he hadn't quite discovered how to end a novel with a bit more complexity. On the other hand, I cannot help but read A Room With a View through the lens of the classical definition of Comedy (which is the antithesis of Tragedy) where we are given a situation that begins with harmony/order and slowly slips in to crisis/chaos, only to surface in again, in the end, in a state of general cheer. And if one compares A Room With a View to, say, the Comedies of Shakespeare (Much Ado About Nothing, for instance), I think that Forster was very much trying his hand at novelistic Comedy: the foreign setting, a quirky cast of loveable (yet somewhat typecast) characters, chapters that function as Acts, and a somewhat formulaic (yet Classical) plot structure. I heartily recommend this slim wonderful novel.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't think I've read anything so simple, yet complex. I could feel the author's own wrestling with the concept of immortal and soul love, and he so beautifully conveyed it this book. I've reread it twice, and keep finding little gems of beauty hidden in the lines. George and Lucy's need to be with each other to keep them away from the darkness in themselves is extremely powerful. In their merging, at the end, only then did they feel a sense of completeness and wholeness. Their obstacles in getting there were amusing and cathartic all at the same time. From the moment that Lucy witnessed the death of the Italian, life wasn't the same; the death signified a death within herself, and only through a love as deep as she had for George would she be able to understand the concept that love and death are very close together in feeling - the type of love that comes but once in a lifetime. A powerful book, masked as a light satiric period piece. Read it again and again to see all the layers of emotion!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
A Room with a View
A Room with a View by E. M. Forster (Paperback - May 29, 2013)
$9.26


Howards End (Dover Thrift Editions)
Howards End (Dover Thrift Editions) by E. M. Forster (Paperback - October 29, 2002)
$4.50
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.