Shifting across the landscapes of India, Egypt, and England, Forster's life is informed by his relationships--from Mohammed el Adl, an Egyptian tram conductor whose companionship becomes invaluable, to the Greek literary titan, poet C.P. Cavafy. This reimagining of Forster's life is at once enlightening, humorous and deeply convincing--a clear ad sympathetic psychological probing of one of Britain's finest novelists. As The Financial Times notes: -The concern is Forster's inner life, and Galgut inhabits him with such sympathetic completeness, and in prose of such modest excellence that he starts to breathe on the page.- Readers will share in his struggle with repression and self-acceptance, and witness the gradual unfolding of a literary masterpiece. Arctic Summer is a powerfully candid portait of an author, created by one of the finet writers of his generation.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-07-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Talented South African writer Galgut (The Good Doctor) returns with a well- researched if occasionally leaden novel about E.M. Forster. Set mostly between Forster’s first trip to India in 1912, during which he visits the caves that play so great a role in A Passage to India, and the 1924 publication of that classic, the novel explores Forster’s intense, sexually tinged friendships with an Indian lawyer, Syed Ross Masood, to whom he dedicated Passage, and the Egyptian tram conductor Mohammed el Adl. Galgut chronicles Forster’s struggle to complete his “Indian novel” and his “invisible, double life” as a homosexual. The avidity of what were then termed Morgan’s “minorite” desires are effectively conveyed, as is the timidity that often frustrates them; Morgan is 37 when he loses his virginity to a British soldier in Alexandria. Unfortunately, some hammy descriptions of Forster at work weigh on the prose (“In one moment, as if lit up by lightning, he had seen the whole arc of events”), and the cameos made by the likes of Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Lytton Strachey, and a fulminating D.H. Lawrence seem perfunctory. Any flatness stands out: the cost of fictionalizing a great writer. Agent: Anna Stein, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Sept.)