A compelling drama and a merciless scrutiny of a newly monied upper-middle-class family at the turn of the 20th century, The Forsyte Saga has a sumptuous range of characters:Soames, he of the 'perpetual sniff'; Old Jolyon, 'typifying the essential individualism born in the Briton'; the sensuous Bosinney with 'an air as if he did not quite know on which side his bread was buttered'; Young Jolyon, the free thinker; and, of course, the sexually alluring and impenetrable Irene, catalyst for much dissension within the clan.
The Forsytes believe they will live forever, but the unrelenting, imperturbable façade slowly begins to crumble as Aunt Ann, the oldest Forsyte ever, is interred in the family tomb at the end of this first volume.
The author makes his presence and opinion felt with beautifully subtle pinpricks of wit, which leave one in no doubt what he thought of the accumulation of wealth and property, which typified the materialistic Victorian psyche, at the expense of sensitivity and freedom. As in The Dark Flower (also published by Assembled Stories), Galsworthy demonstrates a fundamental understanding of hidden sexual currents and their ability to change our destinies.
If you have enjoyed The Forsyte Saga on television in the past, you will be familiar with this engrossing story; if not, prepare to be completely captivated and engaged by one of the best tales ever told.
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