I'm not sure why I've found it difficult to write a review of this novel. It may be because much of what I want to say about it I've already written in my reviews of the the first two novels of the The Forsyte Saga trilogy, [b:The Man of Property: The Forsyte Saga|748318|The Man of Property The Forsyte Saga (Wordsworth Classics)|John Galsworthy|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1177989007s/748318.jpg|1057006] and [b:In Chancery|6383607|In Chancery (The Forsyte Saga)|John Galsworthy|/assets/nocover/60x80.png|19160560], which can be found here and here.
This novel is as witty a commentary on English middle class values as the first two novels in the trilogy. Galsworthy's prose is elegant and full of irony and yet he depicts even the least attractive of his characters with understanding and compassion. Although I occasionally thought the narrative dragged just a bit, I remained engaged, probably because after listening to the first two novels, I had invested a lot of time in getting to know the Forsytes and wanted to know what happened to them.
As a whole, the trilogy is much more than just a multi-generational soap opera. Galsworthy chronicled the passing of the Victorian and Edwardian ages, and the social, economic and political changes experienced by the English middle class as it moved into the 20th century. Into that social commentary, he wove a meditation on love, life, death, beauty, the good and the bad of human feelings and aspirations. For a novelist writing in the 1920s, Galsworthy had a rather old-fashioned style, but his writing is accessible, he had something to say and he was able to make his characters and the dilemmas they face seem very real.
All in all, I found listening to the audiobook edition of the novel a most worthwhile and at times moving experience. As I've mentioned in my reviews of the other novels in the trilogy, David Case is entirely the right narrator for this work. However, there is a minor problem with the production values of the audiobook in that a number of sentences are repeated, something which obviously should have been picked up in the editing process.
It was good to be listening to this book as my friend Jemidar was reading it. I'm glad that she liked the book as much as I did.