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|Paperback, January 1, 2008||
Ford's novel revolves around two couples: Edward Ashburnham--the title's soldier--and his capable if off-putting wife, Leonora; and long-transplanted Americans John and Florence Dowell. The foursome's ostensible amiability, on display as they pass parts of a dozen pre-World War I summers together in Germany, conceals the fissures in each marriage. John is miserably mismatched with the garrulous, cuckolding Florence; and Edward, dashing and sentimental, can't refrain from falling in love with women whose charms exceed Leonora's. Predictably, Edward and Florence conduct their affair, an indiscretion only John seems not to notice. After the deaths of the two lovers, and after Leonora explains much of the truth to John, he recounts the events of their four lives with an extended inflection of outrage. From his retrospective perch, his recollections simmer with a bitter skepticism even as he expresses amazement at how much he overlooked.
Dowell's resigned narration is flawlessly conversational--haphazard, sprawling, lusting for sympathy. He exudes self-preservation even as he alternately condemns and lionizes Edward: "If I had had the courage and the virility and possibly also the physique of Edward Ashburnham I should, I fancy, have done much what he did." Stunningly, Edward's adultery comes to seem not merely excusable, but almost sublime. "Perhaps he could not bear to see a woman and not give her the comfort of his physical attractions," John surmises. Ford's novel deserves its reputation if for no other reason than the elegance with which it divulges hidden lives. --Ben Guterson --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Ford Maddox Ford tells his story, "The Good Soldier", through a credible narrator.
It is indeed a very sad story, but the narrator leaves out the fact that he is quite possibly one of the most pathetic characters in all fiction.
Only a few books have made me feel as though I'd been slapped in the face, and this is one of them (trust me, it's a good thing).
Ford Madox Ford...my goodness. Incapable of writing a weak or uninteresting sentence. Modernist writer whose greatest works - this, the Parade's End tetralogy, for example - reveal... Read morePublished 19 days ago by Paul Frandano
I didn't love The Good Soldier (haven't gotten around to The Inheritors yet), but realised that I was reading a classic. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eliot Marx
One of the greatest unreliable narrators of all time. Ford is an important literary light.Published 2 months ago by Frank A. Green
The manner in which the story is told is the most interesting aspect. The narrator "speaks" as people do recount stories, with back tracking and misrepresentations (later... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Reader_CEM
Life is mostly about sex and death for some people, and this book is full of both. Set in the fin de siècle years of the 1800s, the story concerns the lives and loves of... Read morePublished 3 months ago by The Garden Interior
In the Vintage International edition of THE GOOD SOLDIER, rather than an introduction, there is 'an interpretation' by Mark Schorer from 1951, which begins with the sentence,... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Bryan Byrd
An unreliable narrator tells us a sad story indeed. No one gets what they want, but we get an unforgettabble story and we also get to know a genious author.Published 3 months ago by Sara Fasja Cohen