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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.
As I said, it's more about the characters and how the plot is structured than the plot itself.
The beauty of the book is the exquisite prose, and should be read slowly, savoring each sentence and each sentiment.
In a way, the world of the novel is peaceful and happy, although the characters make themselves miserable.
I won't rewrite about the plot again. I really liked the unreliable narrator part and the plot cleverly unfolds. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by BlueDog
One of the quintessential writers in British Literature Ford Madox Ford typifies the period of Modernism and The Good Soldier is a good example. Read morePublished 15 days ago by R. DelParto
I had to read this book for a class, but it automatically made me a Henry James fan. It's a great, classic read and very interesting.Published 3 months ago by Katherine G.
Gildart Jackson's narration of this magnificent feast of a novel is perfect word for word. This is one of my favorite audio books and I would never trade or sell it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Atlanta Reader
dumbest book I've read .absolutely no character development, so who cares what happens to these shallow people. waste of my money.Published 4 months ago by cece
. The narration is round about and verymuch a single perspective. I enjoyed that.
only one character, Lenora, actually does anything in this novel. Read more