Thursday, 3 July 2014

Book Chat: Man of Property

It may be only Thursday, but I'm having a very exciting week book-wise. First, I learned that one of my favourite authors, Robin Hobb, is bringing out a new book in my favourite series, and that she'll be signing it in London next month! I am so excited.

Then I finally got the tape measure (or rather, badgered Rebecca to let me borrow hers) out to see if there was any space in my room for a bookcase and there is! Since I don't particularly fancy lugging a flatpack bookcase from Argos by hand, I think I'll wait until I've got some time off and have it delivered. I'm very much looking forward to storing my books in style, and in my own room rather than the lounge.

In less exciting news, I finished The Man of Property by John Galsworthy this week. It doesn't quite count as one of my fifty classics because I blithely put the whole of The Forsyte Saga down, but it's a step!

I really didn't have any expectations about this. I put it on my list because someone (David Mitchell?) quoted a passage from the end of it as one of his favourite pieces of prose, and I liked the sound of it. I had no idea what it was going to be about or even when it was set. However, I did recently withness a forum conversation during which one poster was complaining that he didn't read classics because they're all 'so depressing'. While this isn't true for all classics, The Man of Property is pretty bleak...
The main story, inasmuch as there is a main story, is about the marriage between Soames and Irene. This is the dark bit, but for all that I did enjoy it. Irene came out as my favourite character, I think. I didn't like Soames, but the narrative does get you right into his head in a way it doesn't with very many of the characters (Irene incldued).
I also enjoyed the story of old Jolyon, his son and grandchildren. You get into his head as well, so I feel confident that this is supposed to be an important aspect of the book.

It was very difficult to keep track of the Forstye men who weren't Soames or Jolyon. I remember James (Soames' father) and George (no idea) but none of the others, or how they fit in. I'm kind of hoping the further novels will give more information on them, but at the moment I'm not terribly interested apart from disliking George for no very obvious reason.

As I've said, it's also pretty bleak! Don't go into it expecting sunshine and butterflies.

Favourite Quotation
Even [the horses], poor things, had smelled the spring, and for a brief half-hour spurned the pavement with happy hoofs. 
Final Thoughts

I ended up giving it 3 stars on Goodreads, the same as The Pursuit of Love. I would have given it 3.5 if that were an option.  

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