Reading Pathways is a regular Book Riot feature in which we suggest a three-book reading sequence for becoming acquainted with certain authors. Check out previous entries on Toni Morrison, Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck John Irving and David Foster Wallace.
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Start with A Room With a View. This was the third novel Forster published but the first one he started working on, and it’s also the most light-hearted. It’s a comedy of manners centered around a young woman named Lucy. The lady must choose between her wealthy, uptight, dry fiancé and a poor but sexy, big-hearted fellow she meets in Italy. It will introduce you to the Merchant-Ivory feel of the era, as well as Forster’s slightly rebellious (for the time) themes.
Next is Howard’s End. This is Forster’s Statement on The Deterioration of the Traditional English Class
End with A Passage to India, which is widely considered Forster’s masterpiece. It’s his last novel, and the darkest. Here, Forster makes only secondary comments about middle-class English society while making a larger point about colonialism, the interaction between the East and the West, and the interconnectedness of humanity. Like the previous works, A Passage to India is heavy-handed on the Message and tightly crafted. Forster’s psychological insights are strongest in this novel- though I don’t suggest reading it in the summer. His descriptions of India’s heat and dust made me miserable when I read it during August.