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The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion Paperback – September 9, 2015
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About the Author
Ford Madox Ford was an English writer and critic, best known for his novel The Good Soldier, considered to be one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century; the Parade s End tetralogy, which was influenced by Ford s military service during the First World War; and The Fifth Queen trilogy, which chronicles the life of Henry VIII s ill-fated wife, Katherine Howard. As a critic, Ford championed new literature and literary experimentation, and his journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, launched the careers of critically acclaimed authors like Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad, Henry James, D. H. Lawrence, and Ernest Hemingway. Ford died in 1939 at the age of 65. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
So many famous writers have extolled "The Good Soldier" that any one reader's review seems superfluous. Including mine.... Read the book.
I'm not going to summarize the book. If you're looking here, at this old obscure book, then you probably know about it somewhat already. What I am going to say is that I gave this book five stars because it was unlike anything I'd encountered before.
The writing is lively, quirky, and eccentric at times, yes. The writing also jumps around, from past to present to past again, almost randomly. And reading this book doesn't really leave one with a great sense of hope. These are all good reasons for someone to not like a novel. So why did I like it?
What this novel does have is a very remember-able narrator, someone who is both very pitiable and likeable. It also has great character development; rarely have I seen characters come alive in such complex and dynamic ways (in each part, each character evolved, or their character was revealed, so much that I constantly had to reassess everyone). It's also got an interesting, original, and somewhat dark structure-- at the each of each part, someone dies (or a part of them, metaphorically, dies). And lastly, it has a very interpretable story; I can see a thousand different college kids writing a thousand wildly different essays, all contradicting each other.
In the end, this book isn't very long, and it's unique, so if you're mildly interested, just give it a shot. If one is looking for a simple exciting read, then don't go for this one. But, if one is looking for something more eccentric, something a little more obscure and questionable-- all written in an easy and enjoyable style-- then this may be for you.
From a literary perspective, this is an interesting novel: a story narrated in a rambling, back-and-forth manner by a confused, confusing speaker. In fact, Ford is explicit in this: the narrator says, towards the beginning, that he is imagining that he is sitting with a silent listener and talking out the events of the story in the order that they occur to him, without the support of the traditional beginning, middle, and end, and with, again according to the narrator, long months where he stopped writing entirely. Moreover, it is soon clear that his interpretation of events is often so naive as to be unbelievable.
In the end, the novel is more interesting than satisfying. I thought about the book a lot as I read it (which is a marker of success), but I ended up not caring that much for it (which is not a marker of success).
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Enjoyed this very nonlinear read.