Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Good Soldier - by Ford Maddox Ford

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

THIS is the saddest story I have ever heard.

How could I turn down using a famous first line?  I love it when the great classics come out free on Kindle.  The Good Soldier is a 1915 novel by English writer, Ford Maddox Ford. (US Edition)  (UK Edition)  

The novel was published after the war and the author suggested the title to his publisher as a joke about how to title a best seller. But there is a soldier in the book, so the cynical title was used.

Graham Greene said it was one of the greatest 20th century novels, in part because it is an experimental work of literary modernism, famous for its unreliable narrator.  It is about an English couple and an American couple; written on the eve of WWI; about the decline of British society.

THIS is the saddest story I have ever heard. We had known the Ashburnhams for nine seasons of the town of Nauheim with an extreme intimacy— or, rather with an acquaintanceship as loose and easy and yet as close as a good glove's with your hand. My wife and I knew Captain and Mrs Ashburnham as well as it was possible to know anybody, and yet, in another sense, we knew nothing at all about them. This is, I believe, a state of things only possible with English people of whom, till today, when I sit down to puzzle out what I know of this sad affair, I knew nothing whatever. Six months ago I had never been to England, and, certainly, I had never sounded the depths of an English heart. I had known the shallows.

This sounds like a book that will be revealing to my readers on both sides of the Atlantic!  Of course, I think that about all the books I recommend, or I would not suggest them.

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