Good Soldier

Front Cover
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Apr 13, 2011 - Fiction - 304 pages
At the fashionable German spa town Bad Nauheim, two wealthy, fin de siecle couples -- one British, the other American -- meet for their yearly assignation. As their story moves back and forth in time between 1902 and 1914, the fragile surface propriety of the pre -- World War I society in which these four characters live is ruptured -- revealing deceit, hatred, infidelity, and betrayal. "The Good Soldier" is Edward Ashburnham, who, as an adherent to the moral code of the English upper class, is nonetheless consumed by a passion for women younger than his wife -- a stoic but fallible figure in what his American friend, John Dowell, calls "the saddest story I ever heard."
 

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User Review  - AlisonY - LibraryThing

Written in 1914, with the title The Good Soldier you'd be forgiven for expecting this classic to be a war novel. However, the nearest we come to notions of war in this novel are those of the domestic ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - DinadansFriend - LibraryThing

A classic novel dealing with the dissection of three marriages. But the narrator himself is revealed as unreliable, so where is the reader left by the tales? In addition Ford writes this novel in a ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
5
Section 2
37
Section 3
58
Section 4
73
Section 5
85
Section 6
114
Section 7
136
Section 8
179
Section 9
199
Section 10
236
Section 11
246
Section 12
247
Section 13
253
Section 14
264
Section 15
279
Copyright

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Page 10 - Someone has said that the death of a mouse from cancer is the whole sack of Rome by the Goths, and I swear to you that the breaking up of our little foursquare coterie was such another unthinkable event.
Page xvi - I should marry Nancy if her reason were ever sufficiently restored to let her appreciate the meaning of the Anglican marriage service. But it is probable that her reason will never be sufficiently restored to let her appreciate the meaning of the Anglican marriage service. Therefore I cannot marry her, according to the law of the land.
Page 8 - We had known the Ashburnhams for nine seasons of the town of Nauheim with an extreme intimacy - or, rather, with an acquaintanceship as loose and easy and yet as close as a good glove's with your hand. My wife and I knew Captain and Mrs Ashburnham as well as it was possible to know anybody, and yet, in another sense, we knew nothing at all about them.
Page 17 - I don't know. And there is nothing to guide us. And if everything is so nebulous about a matter so elementary as the morals of sex, what is there to guide us in the more subtle morality of all other personal contacts, associations, and activities? Or are we meant to act on impulse alone? It is all a darkness.
Page 17 - I DON'T KNOW HOW it is best to put this thing down— whether it would be better to try and tell the story from the beginning, as if it were a story; or whether to tell it from this distance of time, as it reached me from the lips of Leonora or from those of Edward himself.
Page 12 - No, by God, it is false! It wasn'ta minuet that we stepped; it was a prison — a prison full of screaming hysterics, tied down so that they might not outsound the rolling of our carriage wheels as we went along the shaded avenues of the Taunus Wald.

About the author (2011)

Ford Madox Ford was born Ford Hermann Hueffer in England in 1873. In 1919 he changed his name to Ford Madox Ford in honor of his grandfather, the Pre-Raphaelite painter Ford Madox Brown, whose biography he had written. Ford was well known for both his fiction and his criticism. He founded two influential journals, The English Review in 1908 and The Transatlantic Review in 1924, in which he championed many of the leading modernist writers of the day. His most famous novels include the tetralogy Parade’s End and The Good Soldier, which are still ranked among the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. Ford died in 1939, at the age of 65, in France.

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