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THE GOOD SOLDIER: A TALE OF PASSION famously begins with the line, "This is the saddest story I have ever heard." The character who tells us this is John Dowell, who recounts the interrelationships of himself, his wife Florence, and their friends "the good solider" Captain Edward Ashburnham and his wife Leonora.
Each of these characters is deeply flawed. John cannot see what is right in front of him. Florence is manipulative and dishonest. Edward is an in-love-with-love philanderer. Leonora is desperate to exert control over her husband. Additional characters are swept into the wake of their disastrous interactions.
While it may not be the saddest story ever, sad it certainly is, a high drama in which deception, misunderstanding, suffering, and acts of desperation abound. The narrative structure is based on non-chronological flashbacks, which can seem disorienting at times, reflecting the sense of dissolution and collapse felt by the storyteller as he attempts to make sense of overwhelming experiences.
The novel is set just before World War I, and was published in 1915, so it should be of particular interest to those like myself who are obsessed with that time period. If this is your first Ford Madox Ford book, I'd recommend you go on to read PARADE'S END as well.
Gildart Jackson's narration is excellent. His voice is well-suited to the style and character of the writing. I'd not listened to him before but now I'd very much like to hear him read another book!
7 of 8 people found this review helpful
What did you love best about The Good Soldier?
I tried to read this book a few years ago and stopped halfway through. This Audible version was just the right vehicle to help me realize why this book and its author have such an enduring reputation. Phenomenal and unusual story; cannot imagine a better narrator for this particular version; he comes across as not exactly American & not exactly English, sort of a strange mixture, which is part of the point of the story.
A winning combination of reader and book. Highest recommendation!
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to The Good Soldier again? Why?
Satisfyingly narrated with smooth fluency, doing full justice to the rich writing.
If you’ve listened to books by Ford Madox Ford before, how does this one compare?
Ford didn't write enough for me
Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
all the world's great story tellers bring joy and sorrow with their tales
A brilliant story written by FBF that is totally spoiled by this horrendously monotonous amateur narrator. I have read the book, watched the film with Jeremy Brett & Robin Ellis & now have this special piece of literature ruined by someone who sounds like the bore you come across at a party who is moaning about a subject of absolute no interest to anyone. Please Audible, find a professional to do this story justice.