Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Passage to India

by E.M. Forster

 Set in the 1920s, A Passage to India is a tale of conflict between native Indian and the ruling British people. Having lived overseas, the book struck a cord in me. I certainly sympathized with the Indian nationals, but I realized that as an expatriate I was akin to the British. I hope I was never as big an asshole as the lot in Passage, but I probably had plenty of times when I failed to be a good guest. Quite an uncomfortable thought, that.

 One thing that struck me while reading the book was the lack of religion or at least Christian virtues amongst the British. In my own experience overseas, or even hobnobbing with former ex-pats, is that the "missionary" element is part of the culture. My wife cites the antipathy between the British East India Company and missionaries as a possible reason for the culture in Passage. That's possible. Or maybe it's that the colonial era of the 1920s is quite different from the globalization era of the 21st century. Or maybe I just need to broaden my social circles. Who knows? Anyway, I can't say I liked the book, but I wouldn't say it's not worth checking out.

LibraryThing link


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