A Passage to India by E.M. Forster (1984/1924)

I read this in college and didn’t much enjoy it then, so I thought I’d give it a second try (after all, it’s on many “must read” lists), and I may have enjoyed it slightly more this time around, though not by an overwhemling margin.  It’s slow, even painstaking at the beginning, and picks up around page 100.  At least by then we have a sense of the many characters (and a number of them we had no need to keep track of as they do not play any sort of major role in the narrative).  It clearly shows the bigotry and power of British colonialism and the complete disconnect between the colonial and local cultures.  I’m just not sure what makes it a great novel.  Surely other works of literature get the same idea across and perhaps in a more engaging way.  In the end, I was glad I reread it, but moreso because it compelled me to do some additional research on India and British colonialism.  I also found my timing to be ironic in that I’d let this novel rest for 25 years in between reads and when I read it this second time, I’d just seen Slumdog Millionaire.  Clearly different stories set in different times, yet connections remain, especially the Hindu/Muslim conflict that’s evident in the book (though subtle), and more evident in the movie.  I doubt I’ll reread Passage again, though I may rent the movie.  (fiction)

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