Out of all the flood of contemporary fiction, here is a volume which is sure to live. It is, in fact, one of the outstanding achievements in the history of English fiction, and would do great credit to the literature of any language. It presents, in the form of a single volume containing a continuous narrative of great dramatic interest, the three novels and two stories which carry the Forsyte family through three generations. Audio of In Chancery by Librivox is available at The Internet Archive. Audio of To Let by Librivox is also available at The Internet Archive.
orsytes misgave them. They could not have explained the origin of a misgiving obscured by the mist of family gossip. A story was undoubtedly told that he had paid his duty call to Aunts Ann, Juley, and Hester, in a soft grey hat--a soft grey hat, not even a new one--a dusty thing with a shapeless crown. "So, extraordinary, my dear--so odd," Aunt Hester, passing through the little, dark hall (she was rather short-sighted), had tried to 'shoo' it off a chair, taking it for a strange, disreputable cat--Tommy had such disgraceful friends! She was disturbed when it did not move.
Like an artist for ever seeking to discover the significant trifle which embodies the whole character of a scene, or place, or person, so those unconscious artists--the Forsytes had fastened by intuition on this hat; it was their significant trifle, the detail in which was embedded the meaning of the whole matter; for each had asked himself: "Come, now, should I have paid that visit in that hat?" and each had answered "No!" and some
I think this book is one of the best melancholy novels in existence. Its tone of ironical sympathy with the main character Soames Forsyte makes the reader feel sorry for him, too, despite his inability to understand what his wife wanted and needed; after all, he was depicted as what he was -- a product of his age.
When the Forsyte Saga was on the Swedish television in the sixties, I was young and mostly interested in the historic aspect and the clothing and the intricate love stories.
I read it recently (in Swedish translation), and realized - now in my mature age - that Galsworthy has written a most modern critique of society. The victorian society, of course (which in people's minds lasted into The World War II, despite new technology), but so many aspects apply to our times. The author has a profound understanding of the human nature, and what made the victorians tick. All of us.
This is the best book ever written, in my humble opinion. The atmosphere of the old English families is brilliantly pictured. If you found both tv series based on these books more like a soap, then yu should read the books.
In these first parts of the Forsyte books the story is still very good. It becomes a bit less in the later books.
Is there anything more to be said? No. This is a must-read for everybody with a sense of literature.
A sprawling multigenerational epic of a wealthy (nouveau riche) London family, from the 1880s until the 1920s. The sins of the earlier generations are visited on the younger generation in a tragic and explosive way. If you enjoy huge family sagas (a la Susan Howatch) or if you loved the "Forsyte Saga" miniseries, you must read this book.