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Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge: A Passage to India
reading is sexy
For the first book in the RGRC, V and I chose E.M. Forster's A Passage to India, primarily because it was convenient (we each had copies that were easily accessible). It didn't hurt that we were both familiar with Forster's writing and knew that at the very least we'd get to read some beautiful passages, vivid language and wry characterizations.

There is so much to explore in this book that I feel awfully unequal to the task. It left me wishing I understood colonial India better, that I knew the history of its deterioration beyond Ghandi, that I was better versed in Islam and Hinduism and that I was more familiar with E.M. Forster beyond his writing so that I could really fully appreciate the nuances that I know were there. I enjoyed the outsider perspective and I feel like Forster was probably uniquely positioned to write it. No one character was without fault or foibles and I loved how Forster played that up. I was left feeling one could never experience "the real India" because the country was so coloured by the ever changing people within it.

I was also struck by all the division within the book - division between caste, between religion, gender, age, nationality - this is a book that is a sharp construct of lines and it's when characters attempt to blur those lines that problems/conflict happens. Even the most sympathetic character, Fielding, never manages to completely successfully navigate these divisions. It's dismayingly topical, dismaying because nothing much seems to have fundamentally changed over the past 90 years or so. But it is an interesting and provocative look at human nature. All in all a good way to start the challenge. Next up: George Orwell's dystopia, 1984. This one should be right up V's alley. :)


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