A compelling drama and a merciless scrutiny of a newly monied upper-middle-class family at the turn of the 20th century, The Forsyte Saga has a sumptuous range of characters:Soames, he of the ‘perpetual sniff’; Old Jolyon, ‘typifying the essential individualism born in the Briton’; the sensuous Bosinney with ‘an air as if he did not quite know on which side his bread was buttered’; Young Jolyon, the free thinker; and, of course, the sexually alluring and impenetrable Irene, catalyst for much dissension within the clan.
The Forsytes believe they will live forever, but the unrelenting, imperturbable façade slowly begins to crumble as Aunt Ann, the oldest Forsyte ever, is interred in the family tomb at the end of this first volume.
The author makes his presence and opinion felt with beautifully subtle pinpricks of wit, which leave one in no doubt what he thought of the accumulation of wealth and property, which typified the materialistic Victorian psyche, at the expense of sensitivity and freedom. As in The Dark Flower (also published by Assembled Stories), Galsworthy demonstrates a fundamental understanding of hidden sexual currents and their ability to change our destinies.
If you have enjoyed The Forsyte Saga on television in the past, you will be familiar with this engrossing story; if not, prepare to be completely captivated and engaged by one of the best tales ever told.
About Assembled Stories: Over the years the national press have reviewed Assembled Stories titles as "excellent", "remarkable", "entrancing", "superb", "agic for sure", "masterly", "wonderful", "a class act", and "a splendid example of audio at its best".
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Elegant period drama at its best
Set in 1886 The Forstye Saga chronicles the comings and goings of an upper-middle class London family. Although nothing much happens, the story somehow makes for compulsive listening and I have gone on to buy volumes two and three. Set during a time when being caught merely walking with a man other than one's husband could spark a huge scandal, this book revolves mainly arounnd stuffy Soames and his alluring wifre, Irene. Property and position are everything to the Forstyes and the family politics are interesting. I often listen to audiobooks whilst doing the housework and must admit to being envious of all the Forsytes who have cooks, maids, butlers and drivers at their beck and call.
Beautifully narrated by John Galsworthy this is an audiobook for anyone who loves period drama.