February 18, 2007

Stay With Me What Appeals

Although I have several stacks of books lying around my study, all clamoring for attention, right now I am rereading A Room With A View. I will, no doubt have more to post about it, as it is the sort of novel that lends itself to a variety of thoughts. I returned to this novel after my father said, No, I was wrong, Somerset Maugham was not as good a writer as E.M. Forster. By the time I finished The Painted Veil I no longer liked Maugham at all (let this be a lesson to me, don’t talk about books with my father until done reading them!), but went off in search of my copy of A Room With A View. I had read this countless times some 20 years ago, after seeing the movie, unable to believe that this was the same Forster who had written the endless and dreary Passage to India.

This time, what has struck is how very coming-of-age A Room With A View is. I wouldn’t have thought so, given Forster’s gentle, mocking tone, but he himself spells it out, just after George Emerson catches Lucy Honeychurch in mid faint. They have both witnessed a murder and Forster writes, “It was not exactly that a man had died; something had happened to the living: they had come to a situation where character tells, and where Childhood enters upon the branching paths of Youth.”

I am interested in two things: 1. Why would we not immediately assume that this is a perfect book for teen-age girls? Is it because there is nothing in this book about which we can easily say: “Teens will relate!” (This is my least favorite expression, smacking as it does of arrogance and condescension)
2. Does anyone have a memory of when they saw character telling, or their childhood moving into youth?

For those of you who missed the film, or are simply in need of a beauty fix, here you go:

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Published in: on February 18, 2007 at 1:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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