Wednesday, February 27, 2019

A Room With a View by E.M. Forster

A Room With a View
E.M. Forster
Published 1908

Aside from this being a most unattractive and thoughtless book cover, A Room With a View, by E. M. Forster, was a delightfully sweet and youthful story. In the beginning, I struggled to understand where Forster was going with the plot, as I eagerly anticipated a love story. It was not until the end of the tale that the intimacy of one character distinctively emerged for the other character. Then it came together nicely.

Overall, this was a simple story about a young English lady, Lucy, coming into her own, during the stuffy Edwardian period. She took a trip to Italy with her much older orthodox cousin, Charlotte. At the hotel, they met the unconventional father and son, Mr. and George Emerson, also visiting Florence. Upon overhearing the disappointment over the lack of view from their rooms, Mr. Emerson rather easily offered to switch rooms with Lucy and Charlotte because the Emersons had a view of the Arno River. The gentlemen had already been to Florence before, whereas this was Lucy's first visit, and she should enjoy a room with a spectacular and meaningful view. 

On further inspection, Charlotte found the gentlemen unusual and outlandish because they did not follow cultural or social expectations in conversation and manners; however, Lucy liked the pair and thought they were interesting. During her stay in Florence, she frequently ran into George, encouraging little connections between the two, though it was not always obvious.

Until the kiss, that is.

The offense

But even that left a lot to ponder. Lucy was "offended," as she was expected to be, and Charlotte, who witnessed such brass behavior from the gentleman, also was "offended," as she should have been. Both agreed not to say anymore about it.

Fast-forward home, to England, and guess who moved into their neighborhood? Of course! The Emersons. Families became entangled, Lucy's brother befriended George, and the rest was history.

Insert a little conflict: Lucy has a "boyfriend," the vacuous Clive. They're engaged, and he is triumphantly refining his malleable Lucy with music and art and literature, just the way he thinks he is supposed to like her. But George the Offender knows something about Clive; it takes another "offense" to get Lucy to open her eyes and see the truth about her fiancé.

Finally, Mr. Emerson uses his wisdom to influence Lucy to see the plain truth about herself, which she has been suppressing, making for a very happy ending.


Sweet, short, and right to the point! Stuffy, false social conventions or being transparent about your true thoughts and feelings -- that is what E. M. Forster wants his reader to consider. It is what humans are often struggling with. Important questions wrapped up in a pleasant, entertaining little story, all with a happy ending. And did I mention...E. M. Forster is a most delightful and superb writer. Be prepared to smile. 


Fanda Classiclit said...

After Howards End, I've been meaning to read another Forster. Your review encouraged me that I'll have another fun with A Room with a View. Thank you! I guess... :)

Ruth said...

I predict you will enjoy it.

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

I LOVE this book. Read it twice, back-to-back, the first time I read it. Which I almost never do, but it was just that special.

Ruth said...

I think I remember you saying you love this book. I also think another read would be beneficial. Forster just has a great writing style.

Paula Vince said...

I love it. E.M. Forster had such a light-hearted way of making some very good social observations in this story. Such a lot of fun.

Ruth said...

I watched the 1985 film version a few nights ago, and it was really well done. I think I could read this one over again, too.