Thursday, 10 April 2014

Book Review: Parade's End - Ford Maddox Ford

Synopsis - In this epic tale, spanning over a decade, war turns the world of privileged, English aristocrat Christopher Tietjens upside down.  It forces him to question everything he holds dear - social order, morality, marriage and loyalty.  And it rocks the very foundations of English society.

Review - Although Ford did not attend University like some other well known authors of the time.  His writing style is typical of that era and is intellectually a match for those educated to a higher level.  It is stated that Parade's End is based on Ford's own experiences at war.  The novel is made up of four books: Some Do Not; No More Parades; A Man Could Stand Up and The Last Post.

The books are quite difficult to read due to the 'padding'.  By 'padding' I mean that there is lot of detail on the main characters thoughts and musings.  I was pleased to have seen the TV adaptation before reading this novel.  I think I may have struggled to keep up otherwise.  Especially, as it took me nearly two months to read.  This was due to time constraints and is not a reflection of the novel.  If the story just stuck to action then it would have been at least half in size, but the poorer for it.

Christopher, married to a woman who could be described as the 'devil incarnate'.  So malicious and vindictive was she towards him.  She went on what could almost be called a rampage to discredit and ruin him.  Yet, he had married her taking on her child not knowing if it was his.  He would not divorce her out of principle, he would not discredit his wife.  Of course, divorce was not the done thing and would have reflected badly on him.  Sylvia Tietjens was a Catholic and divorce was against her religion, she would never have agreed to it.  This is the basis of the novel and what follows unfolds in the story .  Christopher may be naive but he is a good sort, yet he suffers more than anyone.  It is a tale of its time but is packed with social, political and moral issues.  If you have the time to invest in reading this tome, it is worth your while.  Enjoy!  4*

ISBN 978-1-84-990493-3

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