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Books like Howards End

Howards End

2002E.M. Forster

1.7/5

My review is not a review of Howard's End as much as it is a review of the negative reviews.Most of the criticism seems to be that the readers felt that this book had nothing to do with them. They weren't familiar with the places in England referenced in the book. It was too English. It wasn't universal. True on some counts. This book isn't about you. It isn't about now. It isn't directly relevant to today. It won't feed the soul of the egomaniac.It is, however, a beautifully written book with a interesting storyline about a time in history that is important in that way that history is important. The novel is not just SETin a pre-World Wars Europe, it is actually *written* before the wars that changed the western world and its literature forever. Moreover, it is written in the period immediately preceding the wars and the presented tension between England and Germany, not written with the advantage of hindight, adds to the books worthiness. Beyond the tension is a modern view of Germany that predates and so is untainted by the horror of the Holocaust. The Germany of Howard's End is a Germany of philosophers and musicians. Not deranged dictators.Is it important to be able to perfectly picture the setting of every scene in a book? If it is, I'm in trouble. I think I just have pre-painted backdrops for certain things. Bucolic English countryside? Check. 17th century French parlor? Check. Mars circa 3011? Check. My depictions might not be terribly accurate but I'm not going to let that get in the way of a good story. What is more universal than the tension between wealth and poverty? Between lust and restraint? What is more universal than feeling both the pull of family and the desire to push them away? What is more universal than hypocrisy? What is more universal than the struggle of the sexes to find their proper place in relation to one another. This. Book. Has. Everything. Except you. You're not in this book.You already know what its like to live here now. What was it like to live there then? Go ahead and read it for the sex and intrigue but stay for the history and the political discussion. If you don't need to see yourself reflected in everything you read you won't be disappointed.

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