Published by Harcourt Brace in 1924
A couple of months ago I read A Room With a View. I loved the way the author used his beautiful words to make me feel both the emotions and the thinking of the characters. When I mentioned this to members in my book club, they thought it would be a good idea for all of us to read A Passage to India. I’m glad we did. Here’s what it’s about:
It’s the early 1920s. Mrs. Moore and Adela Quested have traveled to Chandrapore, India from Great Britain. They are visiting Mrs. Moore’s son who is also Adela’s possible fiance, Ronny. Ronny is the magistrate of this area of India which is still one of Great Britain’s colonies.
The women are eager to see and experience this exotic country. They have lots of questions about everything they see. Adela, especially wants to know the real India. All her new friends tell her that’s a very bad idea.
Adela and Mrs. Moore manage to get a trip down to the Marabar Caves. They are led by a local Indian doctor, Dr. Aziz. He does his best to make the adventure a good one. While in the Caves, however, something happens to Adela and she accuses Dr. Aziz of sexual assault. There is a trial but Adela realizes she made a mistake, and the trial ends.
The most obvious thing I noticed in the story is the various divisions among the people. The racial, gender, and class prejudice was hard to overlook. The story was told from the perspective of the various characters, so the reader has the opportunity to see how colonization effects the colonizer and the colonized. It was negative for everyone.
The discussion at our book club meeting was enriched by the fact that one member lived in India for a couple of years and another member has visited several times. Their descriptions of the incredible beauty of the land and the people were interesting to hear. Although its been 80 to 90 years since the author’s visit and that of my friends, the comparison of the racial, gender and class problems were amazing. It made me wish I could have my own passage to India.
There were times when the story was confusing and times when it seemed to ramble, but Forster’s writing was so beautiful, it didn’t matter. It wasn’t poetry or exactly prose, but it seemed to have a music cadence.
Overall, this is a classic I can recommend to you.