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The Forsyte Saga: The Man of Property Paperback – June 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0755340859 ISBN-10: 075534085X

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Product Details

  • Series: The Forsyte Saga (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline Book Publishing (June 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075534085X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755340859
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,466,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An immortal achievement . . . it is, at all levels, readability itself.”  —Financial Times, on The Forsyte Saga series



“Just because they were set in a world of frock-coats and ornate drawing rooms, we should not be blind to their modern dilemmas . . . the satire is sharp, the dialogue, elegant and witty, and the characterization—dazzling.”  —Scotsman



“A cracking good story . . . compulsive, as well as very modern and outrageous.”  —Sunday Times

“Still a terrific read, a satisfying, long, absorbing family story…which knocks spots off its pale imitators.”  —Susan Hill

About the Author

John Galsworthy was a celebrated writer and dramatist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1932.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Definitely a must-read.
E. A Solinas
The characters are clearly portrayed, laughable and lovable, or despicable, or merely human.
Margaret Fiore
On another level, this is the story of an age, the story of the British Empire at its peak.
J. Marren

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Elsie Wilson on October 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
First book in The Forsyte Saga, the first trilogy about Galsworthy's family, the Forsytes. I have always known that this is a classic; i can remember Mum & Dad watching "The Forsyte Saga" on BBC, when i was under ten. I've thought about reading it at various times since then, when i 've seen parts of the Sage in various libraries, but have never taken the plunge. What a fool i was. This book is wonderful. It is not fast-paced; there is not a lot of action; there aren't thrills and spill for the average modern reader raised on television and motion pictures. What it does have, however, is a delicately portrayed family of characters, nice (in the older sense) irony, gentle interplay between people, and a carefully told story of the disintegration of an engagement, and the loss of a marriage. Very definitely written about the late Victorian Age (it takes place in 1884), some of the people's attitudes are radically (literally, other-rooted) different from the prevailing views of the Western world today. Soames' musings about marriage, the duty of his wife, and his exercise of his rights with her, would not stand today; fascinating they are, though, as a view into our great grandparents' world. Roll on the next two books of the trilogy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Fiore on January 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a surprisingly good read. While many of the characters are pompous and dull, the writer never is... and although it takes a long time for a truly sympathetic character to come on the scene, there is never any confusion as to the point of view being presented.

The book takes an interesting look at the drive for ownership that infected English society then, as it infects all relatively prosperous societies then and now. The characters are clearly portrayed, laughable and lovable, or despicable, or merely human.

The plight of Irene, a beautiful woman, desired but regarded as an asset by her husband, is one that fascinates and terrifies me as a female reader. Thank god we were not born in that time!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
Once upon a time, not so long ago, wives were practically considered the property of their husbands.

But this antiquated idea is only one that John Galsworthy quietly slashed apart in the first book of the Forsyte Saga, "the Man of Property." With his intricate plot and lush old-style writing, Galsworthy introduces us to a snobby upper-middle-class family who begins to disintegrate in the changing times.

The vast Forsyte family has come together to celebrate June Forsyte's engagement to a young bohemian architect, Philip Bosinney -- except for June's father, who eloped with the governess and is now shunned by his family.

Among the guests are the stuffy, domineering Soames Forsyte and his quiet, unhappy wife Irene -- though she conditionally agreed to marry him, she doesn't love him. But Soames regards Irene as his most valuable piece of property, so he decides to get her away from London. At the same time, the patriarch Jolyon starts to kick off family disapproval, and goes to see his estranged son.

Soames contracts Bosinney to design a country house, hoping that his work will appeal to Irene's "artistic" sensibilities. And it does -- too much. An attraction starts to flower between Bosinney and Irene, leading to a furtive affair and the promise of yet more scandal. And Soames' determination to "own" Irene leads to tragedy...

Written in 1906, "The Man of Property" was written in a time before the world of England's upper crust changed forever -- sort of an English "Age of Innocence." And while Galsworthy's first Forsyte book can be sees as the portrait of a disintegrating marriage, it can also be seen as the portrait of the Forsytes overall -- stuffy, gilded, and extremely eager to forget the working class roots a few generations back.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on February 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book is bound to appeal to readers like myself who are interested in novels of manners, but should also be an interesting read for the more general reader The Forsyte clan will be recognizable to virtually everybody as members of the splendid and self-satisfied middle class and in a sense the story is about what happens when other people notable for something besides their position (beauty or talent) come into contact with them.

One of the things that I like about Galsworthy is that while he spares nothing in his treatment of the Forsytes, he is also not unfair or unkind. The good aspects of the Forsytes (June and Jolyon) are treated as well as the bad and in the end I even felt as sorry for Soames (almost) as much as I did for Irene or Bosinney.

The Man of Property is bound together with a short interlude called "Indian Summer of a Forsyte" which takes you through generational change and into (presumably) the next novel.

I look forward to reading the entire saga.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Marren VINE VOICE on February 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
Everyone's heard of "The Forsyte Saga," the BBC family epic of the late Victorian Age. Fewer have read the Galsworthy book, and that's a shame, because it's fascinating on so many levels. "The Man of Property" is only the beginning of a fabulous story--you will want to find out what happens to these characters.

On the surface it's the story of Soames Forsyte, the quintessential icon of the growth of the upper middle classes and the decline of the nobility during the Victorian era. Descended from a farmer in Dorset in the not-too-distant past, Soames is a lawyer and a man of property. He buys wisely, sells more wisely, and husbands his wealth and that of the family. He is in control of everything that affects him, except one thing--his wife. Desiring to possess the sensitive, beautiful, genteel but poor Irene, and with the help of a callous mother, Soames pressures Irene into becoming his wife. From this single mistake, the one time Soames let passion rule, his life and the lives of his family and their descendants are changed in unpredictable and frightening ways. Galsworthy's theme is the constant tussle in life between property and art, love and possession, freedom and convention. In the fine tradition of family sagas, these themes play themselves out over and over with each generation.

On another level, this is the story of an age, the story of the British Empire at its peak. Galsworthy packs his book with allusions to the great crises of the time, the Boer War and WWI, the rise of Labour, the death of the Queen, the spread of "democracy." The Forsyte homes are meticulously detailed, from the French reproduction furniture to the dusty sofas to the heavy drapes, to the fireplace grate, to the electric lights in the old chandeliers.
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