Saturday, July 1, 2006

Within view

Cross A Room With A View, E.M. Forster, from my Modern Library list.

Again, pleasantly surprised. Who would have thought I would be so delighted with Forster's work? Now I'm itching to read A Passage to India, and I can't believe I was so reticent to approach his tomes. The writing is clear, concise, and yet playful. Definitely lasting, definitely deserving of a spot on the top 100.

Special quotes for travelers/tourists/malcontents (in my mind, I've replaced all references to Italy and Italian cities with India and Indian cities):

"Then Miss Lavish darted under the archway of the white bullocks, and she stopped, and she cried: 'A smell! A true Florentine smell! Every city, let me teach you, has its own smell.'
'Is it a very nice smell?' said Lucy, who had inherited from her mother a distaste to dirt.
'One doesn't come to Italy for niceness,' was the retort; 'one comes for life...'"

"If you will not think me rude, we residents sometimes pity you poor tourists not a little -- handed about like a parcel of goods from Venice to Florence, from Florence to Rome, living herded together in pensions or hotels, quite unconscious of anything that is outside Baedeker, their one anxiety to get "done" or "through" and go on somewhere else."

And, sage life lessons:

"'...You are inclined to get muddled, if I may judge from last night. Let yourself go. Pull out from the depths of those thoughts that you do not understand, and spread them out in the sunlight and know the meaning of them....We know that we come from the winds, and that we shall return to them; that all life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness. But why should this make us unhappy? Let us rather love one another, and work and rejoice. I don't believe in this world-sorrow."

"...she reflected that it is impossible to foretell the future with any degree of accuracy, that it is impossible to rehearse life. A fault in the scenery, a face in the audience, an irruption of the audience onto the stage, and all our carefully planned gestures mean nothing, or mean too much."

"Oh, horrible -- worst of all -- worse than death, when you have made a little clearing in the wilderness, planted your little garden, let in your sunlight, and then the weeds creep in again! A judgment!"

1 comment:

Venitha said...

Have not yet read _A Passage to India_? Unbelievable! How long have you been living there?