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The Forsyte Saga (Forsyte Chronicles, Vol. 1: The Man of Property / Indian Summer of a Forsyte / In Chancery / Awakening / To Let)
The Forsyte Saga - Forsyte Chronicles, Vol. 1: The Man of Property / Indian Summer of a Forsyte / In Chancery / Awakening / To Let Author:John Galsworthy From Wikipedia: — The three novels and two intervals which make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle, with irony, humor, and pathos, the vicissitudes of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family between 1886 and 1920. Only a few generations removed from their farmer ancestors, the family members are keenly aware of their status as "new money." Ga... more »lsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women. Also included are notes that explain contemporary artistic and literary allusions and define the slang of the time.
The Man of Property (1906)
In this first novel of the Forsyte Saga, Galsworthy details Soames Forsyte's desire to own things, including his beautiful wife, Irene Forsyte (nee, Heron). He is jealous of her friendships and wants that she should be his alone. He concocts a plan to move her to the country, away from everyone, but she resists his grasping intentions and falls in love with architect Philip Bossinney. However, Bossinney is the fiance of her friend June Forsyte, the daughter of Soames's cousin Jolyon.
Indian Summer of a Forsyte (1918)
In a short interlude after The Man of Property, Galsworthy delves into the newfound friendship between Old Jolyon Forsyte (June's grandfather) and Irene, who has left Soames. This attachment gives Old Jolyon pleasure, but exhausts his strength. He leaves Irene money in his will.
In Chancery (1920)
The marital discord of both Soames and his sister Winifred is the subject of the second novel. They take steps to divorce their spouses, Irene, and Montague Dartie respectively. However, while Soames tells his sister to brave the consequences of going to court, he is not willing to go through a divorce himself. Instead he stalks and hounds Irene, following her abroad, and asking her to have his child, which is his father's wish. "Chancery" refers to the legal system and courts. Ultimately, Soames remarries, wedding Annette, a French girl who is much younger than him and a Soho restaurant owner's daughter. Through his new wife, he has his only child, Fleur Forsyte.
As for Irene, she is left the large sum of 15,000 pounds after Old Jolyon's death. His son, Young Jolyon Forsyte, also Soames's cousin, takes care of Irene's finances. When she first leaves her husband, he offers his support. After the death of Young Jolyon's son Jolly, Irene goes to Robin Hill to comfort him. They begin an affair, and she has his son, Jon Forsyte.
The subject of the second interlude is the naive and exuberant lifestyle of eight-year-old Jon Forsyte. He loves and is loved by his parents. He has an idyllic youth, his every desire indulged.
To Let (1921)
This novel concludes the Forsyte Saga. Second cousins Fleur and Jon Forsyte meet and fall in love, unknowing of their parents' past affairs, indiscretions, and misdeeds. Once Soames, Jolyon, and Irene discover their romance, they forbid their children to see each other again. Jolyon warns his son that once he dies, there will be no one to protect Irene from her ex-husband. Jon is conflicted between the past and his present love for Fleur. Despite her feelings for Jon, Fleur has a very suitable suitor, Michael Mont, heir to a baronetcy. Should they marry, Fleur would elevate the status of her family from "nouveau riche" to the aristocratic upper class. The title derives from Soames' reflections as he breaks up the house in which his Uncle Timothy, recently deceased at age 100, had lived a recluse, hoarding his life like property.« less