Book Review: A Room with a View by EM Forster
Preview… EM Forster always does an outstanding job developing his characters, blurring the line between fiction and reality in the reader’s mind. In one of his earlier works, “A Room with a View”, we become acquainted with Lucy Honeychurch as she travels the major cities of Italy—most notably Florence—under the watchful eye of her cousin and chaperone, Charlotte. Upon arrival at the hotel, the women are dismayed upon their receipt of a room overlooking the courtyard, when they had specifically and clearly requested a room with a view. Another English guest, Mr. Emerson, offers the room he is sharing with his son, George, to the ladies for its coveted view. Offended by his brash behavior, Charlotte and Lucy begrudgingly accept.
This chance encounter sets the whole story into motion: a murder in the piazza, a scandalous kiss that later finds itself nestled in the pages of a laughably bad novella (a humorous story within the story), a chance reencounter, an ill-suited engagement, gratuitous male nudity and latent homosexuality among the parish. Ultimately, Lucy must choose between a socially acceptable match with her fiancé Cecil or love’s true calling with George. The book becomes most meaningful when the reader uncovers the hidden depths of the story pertaining to EM Forster’s own life. As a late Victorian era homosexual, Forster was unable to pursue his own love story due to the condescending eye of society. Maybe he will let Lucy and George have their fairy tale ending, since he never had his.
You may like this book if… you enjoy other works by Forster, you like novels with exceptional character development, you have a good sense of humor, you have travelled to Italy or enjoy reading about its imagery, you like unlikely matches, you are all about examining the changing values of society, you enjoy a quick classic, you have already watched the 1986 film adaptation (this is one of the films most perfectly true to its source novel that I have ever seen)
You may not like this book if… you get too upset by the snobbery and irrationality of some of the upper class old school characters, you cannot stand the fact that our protagonist might marry the wrong man in the end, you do not enjoy the fact that there are homosexual tendencies given to a clergyman, you’ve had enough of literature from this era and don’t think you could possibly stomach anymore