Book Review — Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (1905)


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E. M. Forster’s book is not recommended for those who are looking for suspense. In spite of the ominous title of the book, the plot actually isn’t as dark.

Where Angels Fear to Tread discusses social differences and their effect on people’s characters and relationships. It shows how people who are forced to behave in certain manners seldom do, and that leads to undesired consequences.

What I liked about the book: the weaved web of social and interpersonal events which gave the plot a certain amount of depth.

What I disliked about the book: the showing instead of telling; and the jumping from one era to another sometimes within the same line.

I just discovered that this book was made into a movie. Did anyone watch it? What do you think of the movie version of the book?

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5 thoughts on “Book Review — Where Angels Fear to Tread by E. M. Forster (1905)”

  1. E. M. Forster is my current obsession, and I have just finished reading this and seeing the movie. Forster is, I think, an acquired taste, and bridges the 19th and 20th centuries in both technique and story-telling form. Often his symbolism gets ahead of his story, but I can accept that as a signal of how ambitious a writer he is (within the narrow scope of his focus). The movie, of all of the Forster movie adaptations, may be the most faithful to what he wrote, but it lacks the passion of Maurice, the exuberance of Room With a View, or the pageantry and grandeur of A Passage to India. Only Helen Mirren’s brief appearance as Lilia sparkles with a true sense of life, and Rupert Graves has been saddled with an unfortunate mustache that mars his beauty and has had his character stripped of some of the obvious homoerotic elements in Forster’s text. I think this book is less successful than Room With a View, and certainly more minor in ambition than Forster’s great works, Howards End and A Passage to India. But also give some thought to his underappreciated and posthumously-published “homosexual” novel Maurice, written between the other two great works but suppressed from publication until 1971.

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