Off the back of the thoroughly enjoyable A Passage to India, I picked up E.M. Forster’s Where Angels Fear to Tread. I must say, I still find the title a bit misleading at first. I expected a dark and mysterious tale in a land in the outer reaches of the empire. My interpretation of the title now would be tat of a satirical title, the ‘Angels’ being the self-important English, and the location being a common village in Italy. Of course, I could be way off.
While I found the plot quite interesting and unpredictable, I couldn’t pin down a main character, or at least one I felt anything towards.
Many times I found it a bit drab. It reminded me of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, without so much comedy and quirky characters. I suppose it was a less hyperbolic version of that type of English society, with more severe consequences.
I do enjoy, that again, Forster sheds a light on prejudice and how the behaviours of the characters could not be overcome with actions, because while they are irrational, they are instinctual. However, the inability of some characters to stand up for their beliefs, suppressed to heavily by society, would be disappointing to many an idealist or activist reader.
While I am a happy and laid back person, I can be a cynic at times. Therefore I must say, I did enjoy the ending. The characters’ desires being tangibly strong, yet unmet, were reflective of the all too realistic disappointments of life