Continuing with more of PopChartLab’s 100 Essential Novels, I finally read an E.M. Forster novel, A Passage to India. I enjoyed the book, but I can’t say I’ll rush to read any of his other works.
Published in 1924 and beautifully written, the novel is set in turn-of-the-century British India and explores the colonialism and racism of the time. British schoolteacher Miss Adela Quested and her widowed companion Mrs. Moore have travelled to India to meet up with Mrs. Moore’s son Ronny, Miss Adela’s potential husband. The women tire of the British India and wish to see the real India. Their trip to do so sets off tragic consequences when in a cryptic passage Adela believes she is being attacked and later accuses Dr. Aziz, a respected Indian, of perpetrating the attack. The Indians were already disheartened by their failed attempts to befriend their English rulers and this only serves to deepen the divide. Adela’s withdrawal of the charge during the court hearings causes further damage between the races and within the races.
Forgiveness for any of the damage, personal or racial, doesn’t come from any direction in the novel, but Forster leaves the reader with a sense of its possibility at some distant future point.