Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Review of "A Passage to India" by E.M. Forster





This book is a classic, but its motifs of culture clash and racialism strike an unfortunate chord in current times.

*****

The plot revolves around an Englishwoman who wrongly accuses a Muslim Indian doctor of attempting to assault her while they're visiting mystical Indian caves. Set in a time when the British controlled India, the book has several sub-themes.

One is the condescending attitude and behavior of the Brits toward the Indian people and the consequent mistrust and dislike the Indians felt toward the Brits. Another is the vast cultural divide that made friendship almost impossible between the Indians and Brits at that time.

My problem with the book is that many of the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that E.M. Forster attributed to the Indian people don't ring true to me. It feels like the author's personal attitudes about India were foisted onto the native characters.....and not in a favorable way.

Nevertheless, it's an interesting story, lyrically told, and gives little glimpses into the Hindu and Muslim customs of old India.


Rating: 3 stars

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