The personal and political intertwine in Forster's novel about two sisters of liberal and artistic temperament whose lives collide with those of a status-driven father and son. This exploration of class and money illuminated the changes taking place in Edwardian England.
-This book is from the Barnes & Noble Classics series.-
"Only Connect," Forster's key aphorism, informs this novel about an English country house, Howards End, and its influence on the lives of the wealthy and materialistic Wilcoxes; the cultured, idealistic Schlegel sisters; and the poor bank clerk Leonard Bast. Bringing together people from different classes and nations by way of sympathetic insight and understanding, Howards End eloquently addresses the question "Who shall inherit England?"
At the turn of the twentieth century, three families meet by chance and their lives become hopelessly intertwined. Each family represents a gradation of English middle class: the rich capitalists, the intellectual bourgeoisie, and the struggling lower-middle class. The novel quickly becomes a sociological study and a platform for the authors philosophy. The events in the novel all tend to gravitate towards a country house dubbed Howards End. The tone of the novel is strikingly intellectual but often events are clouded in glittering prose. The explanation comes pages later, yet still in a roundabout way. The reader can guess what has happened; why not blurt it out? While the sequence of events is straightforward and logical, at times the intervening writing and dialogue are tedious at best.
The characters of the Wilcox and Schlegel family members stay with you long after the book is back on the shelf. The title comes from Mrs Wilcox's family home, Howards End. The contrast is between free-thinking, imaginative intellectuals and business oriented, financially secure capitalists. The conflicts are between the classes, and between the sexes. E. M. Forster creates moments of humor and tragedy, but overall I consider this story his masterpiece. It deserves more than one read.
Excellent reader who is able to change her voice from one character to the next.
This book was a little difficult to read because of the old fashioned style, but by the end I was almost talking like they do in the story. Mr. Forster has a real insight into the emotions and hang-ups that people had during the time this story takes place.