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Extended Audio Sample The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (6,632 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Galsworthy Narrator: Fred Williams Publisher: Craig Black Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Related: The Forsyte Saga Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455182190
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The Forsyte Saga chronicles the ebbing social power of the upper-middle-class Forsyte family through three generations, beginning in Victorian London during the 1880s and ending in the early 1920s. The saga begins with Soames Forsyte, a successful solicitor who buys land at Robin Hill on which to build a house for his wife, Irene, and future family. Eventually, the Forsyte family begins to disintegrate when Timothy Forsyte, the last of the old generation, dies at the age of one hundred.

In the three novels (The Man of Property, In Chancery, and To Let) and two interludes (“Awakening” and “Indian Summer of a Forsyte”) that comprise the saga, Galsworthy documented a departed way of life, that of the affluent middle class that ruled England before the 1914 war. Galsworthy’s masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The characters themselves are recognizable and compelling, and Galsworthy still hits his targets—materialism, selfishness, insensitivity, possessiveness—with force and accuracy.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “A social satire of epic proportions and one that does not suffer by comparison with Thackeray’s Vanity Fair…The whole comedy of manners, convincing both in its fidelity to life and as a work of art.”

    New York Times

  • “Richly satirical.”

    Post-Gazette.com

  • “A social satire of epic proportions and one that does not suffer by comparison with Thackeray’s Vanity Fair…the whole comedy of manners, convincing both in its fidelity to life and as a work of art.”

    Anders Österling on White Monkey

  • “[Galsworthy] possesses two essential gifts: storytelling and the creation of character. He also displays the acuteness and tenacity of imagination not only to create an immensely detailed and consistent social world, but to record its inner transmutation over a period of time.”

    Geoffrey Harvey, senior lecturer, Reading University

  • An Entertainment Weekly Pick for 12 Books to Ease Your Downton Abbey Withdrawl

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chris Gager | 2/14/2014

    " I really don't know what rating to give it. I just remembered it. A part of the curriculum in English at Loomis though we only had to read the first part. I'm not sure I even got through that. Tough reading for a teenage American boy interested in Playboy and sports. Old Jolyon... Young Jolyon etc. and on and on. Made into a classic Masterpiece Theater series starring Eric Porter(I think). Date read is a guess. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ayu Palar | 2/6/2014

    " The book is super thick I still do not understand how I could finish the book quickly. There's only one reason. It is good! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 2/5/2014

    " As the World Turns set in turn-of-the-(last)-century Britain. Delicious. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Willowgreen | 2/5/2014

    " Fantastic family saga, great characters;i became totally absorbed in the story & felt bereft when it was finished.Definitely goes into my all time favourite books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 1/26/2014

    " This is the story of three generations of the upper middle class Forsyte family of England. Galsworthy makes them irresistible because they are so flawed yet so noble and lovable at the same time. I could not get enough of this story and these characters. The mess they make of their lives while at the same time making loads of money makes an irresistible story. Some of the characters in this book are my favorites of all time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Crystal Vaughan | 1/25/2014

    " This book is only for those who really really like period pieces. It's really long and some parts are boring. You might just want to watch the BBC series instead. I have been slowly reading it for a while now and am determind to get through it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 1/24/2014

    " It took all my willpower to finish this one. All of the characters are loathsome (except for Old Jolyon, I will grudgingly concede) and I just couldn't bring myself to care about what happened to them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lex | 1/15/2014

    " Book 1 and the interlude were awful, Book 2 was amazing, and Book 3 was pretty good. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Veronica Hart | 1/15/2014

    " Oh my gosh. I was totally involved with that saga. I couldn't wait for the evening so I could read. I read it years ago and it still feels like I left a family behind. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 katen moore | 12/26/2013

    " could not believe how excellent this rejected book from Aschmann's reading list finally was when I read it last year. Could not put it down. Read the entire trilogy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lara | 12/10/2013

    " This is one that I've picked up and put down so many times over the past few months. It's moving rather slowly and I'm having a hard time sticking with it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Joel Beerman | 12/2/2013

    " Not as good as watching Downton Abbey. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Saïdeh Pakravan | 11/11/2013

    " One of those serial books you never want to end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacy | 8/5/2013

    " You can get this book for free on Kindle books "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stefan | 8/3/2013

    " One of my all-time favorite classics. Really great incisive look at upper middle class life/mores and the motivations people bring to their personal relationships. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana | 12/6/2012

    " A story beautifully and musically told, about beauty, property, and people who embody both. A gentle farce. Gorgeous. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Debra | 11/8/2012

    " One word review - fantastic :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne Vanstone | 9/27/2012

    " Loved this book. If I get ever a Montpellier Street anywhere I get a little tingle. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cydney | 5/25/2012

    " Still reading it - but love it, love it, love it. Long, but never disappoints; loved every minute of it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Claudia Douris | 1/4/2012

    " Written in 1914 this is the saga of the moneyed Forsytes, a family whose values are constantly at war with its passions. If you are up for a long long read give it a try....despite its 900 pages it is a rather quick read... Only downfall, nobody is really happy in the novel! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine | 9/19/2011

    " L-oo-ooo-ong, but I liked it. It was a changing time, and their way of life was not to last. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caitlin | 9/10/2011

    " Holy Mother of Pearl this was a difficult book to get through. I really enjoyed the storyline and the multiple generations but the phrasing and detail was a bit too superfluous for my taste. This book could have been cut down by 500 pages and still held on to its overall integrity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 8/20/2011

    " It took me a while to get through this, but in the end it was well worth reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elizabeth | 6/3/2011

    " One of my all time favorite books. It's long but this is the type of storytelling that you only get from a 1000 page book: plot twists, family drama over generations, and the kind of pain that you get from a lifetime of missed opportunities. I love this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sylvia | 5/14/2011

    " Excellent book.I would read it again if I did not have so many, many other books I want to read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Joanne | 5/10/2011

    " This is a wonderfully written book. It is a joy to read a well crafted sentence. The characters really come alive. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claire | 5/5/2011

    " This book and all subsequently sequels has been on my to read list forever. I sometimes feel it is my Everest. It will give me something to do in retirement. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Flora | 4/3/2011

    " At the intersection of Dickens and Joyce, there's Galsworthy. Why he's so underrated is beyond me. His writing is sublime, his characters complex, their dilemmas intractable. The interlude, "Indian Summer of a Forsyte," is one of the most touching pieces of short fiction I've ever read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kama | 3/3/2011

    " I loved this "saga" -- several books rolled into one, all about a family in Victorian England as the 20th century approaches. The characters of Soames, Irene, Jolyon, and all the rest were very compelling. Warning: this is a very long read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brenda | 2/25/2011

    " So I'm reading "Back to the Best Books: How the Classics Can Change Your Life", and this is one of the books it recommends. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ice | 2/25/2011

    " Enjoyed both TV series and the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arabella | 1/7/2011

    " Very much enjoyed this, particularly the perspective of how family skeletons have power to affect future generations. Also interesting views of the rapid changes to society and individuals in the last half of the 19th century/beginning of the 20th. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eskae | 12/21/2010

    " Amazingly interesting characters, the ups and downs of the storyline make it hard to put down. I highly recommend reading this series in order. You become very attached to the characters. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Martha | 12/21/2010

    " As the World Turns set in turn-of-the-(last)-century Britain. Delicious. "

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