Originally published September 28th, 2014
I don’t know how I feel about this book. I’m grateful it was written in the 1920’s, and hopefully things in India are better now. Forster packs the whole novel with insights on human nature; well, for the men. He tends to dismiss his female characters as monochromatic and subtly blames them for India’s intractable problems with racism and colonialism. If the British women would just let go of their stubborn racist beliefs everything would be better. And if Indian women would just let go of their ridiculous, close-minded beliefs about proper behavior for women (yes, he really blames the women for the continuation of purdah in India), India would be in much better shape. So while I admired Forster’s insights and descriptions, his subtle sexism was wearing.
I know, I know. He’s a product of his times and so on and so forth. I live with sexism all the time, I don’t have to like it in created universes.