2010: 96. Howard's End

“One may as well begin with Helen’s letter to her sister.”

Howards End, E.M. Forster

     Seemed appropriate to finish my mini Forster re-read with his greatest masterpiece.  I may not love it as much as A Room With A View, but that’s only because Room is a confection, and Howards End is a meal -  a real, meaty examination of human relations, and imperfections.  And no, it’s not perfect - a recent article I read in The New York Review of Books pointed out that Leonard Bast isn't really a successful creation, and once having noticed it I couldn’t really unsee that he’s not really a believable representation of a working class man, but it’s such a grand read that you can forgive the flaws.*  And what I really, really love about it is that it takes on real human issues with out being so damn miserable.  So many of these “top” novels are grim and sad (or sad and spare), as if being about horrible people or terrible things that its nice to read about basically good people (I mean, yes, not Mr. Wilcox, per se, but even he just kind of a douchebag, not, say, a totalitarian monster).  And, look, it’s not like you need me to tell you that Howards End is a great novel, but if by chance you haven’t read it, you really should.  Because “Only Connect” is a worthwhile thought, and the book really is one of the great modern novels - and on top of that is pretty enjoyable to read.

       On a totally unrelated note, I must, alas, concede at this point that I am NOT going to make my book resolution of finishing The Modern Library Top 100 this year.  I have a few more in the blogging queue, and I might be able to read one or two more in the next few weeks, but the fact is, there are still too many books, (and Finnegan’s Wake, bum-dump-ching!), left.  To be fair to me, when I made the resolution, I didn’t know that there was going to be a new baby this year, which distracted me from my goal a wee bit.**  So next year I am going to try again!!


Categories:  Re-Read, Fiction, Modern Library Top 100

*And the idea of a Leonard Bast - a man who seeks beauty - is believable even if this precise version doesn’t seem much like a real person.

**And made this probably my lowest book tally year since I started blogging (though I’ve read a bit more than it looks like, since I’m also SUPER far behind in my blogging).

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017