The Good Soldier

The late John Mortimer once said that to ensure a good supply of holiday reading it was wise to take old favourites to read. I don’t think Ford Madox Ford’s 1915 novel, ‘The Good Soldier’ falls into that category for me, however since it is literally decades since I last read it, I decided to give it another go.

Ford uses the device of the ‘unreliable narrator’. Since the narrator imagines it is you the reader he is speaking to the question is; how much of what he tells us can we believe? The narrator is part of the story, so is he trying to minimise his culpability? It’s difficult to say. There are two suicides in this story of the Edwardian idle rich.

I’m not sure that I enjoyed it any more the second time round, however it did confirm what I’d been told in advance of my first reading. The Good Soldier is considered to be one of the most ‘technically’ accomplished novels ever written and for that reason alone it’s worth picking up.

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