Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Forsyte Saga

I recently watched PBS' version of The Forsyte Saga, and now I'm about a quarter deep into John Galsworthy's epic tale of a wealthy family in Victorian England.  The book itself totals nearly 900 pages and comprises three novels, two short stories (or interludes) between the main pieces, an extensive family tree, and explanatory notes.  It's not exactly light summer reading, but I'm thoroughly enjoying it and Galsworthy's writing is so much fun and timely.  Despite being written almost 100 years ago, the author's observations of privileged society are still incredibly applicable today. 

I also have to add that the book itself is incredibly beautiful.  I'm a book lover, so I know never to judge a book by its cover, but my copy, an Oxford World's Classic, has on its front a detail from Invitation to the Waltz by Francesco Miralles Galaup.  I find myself staring at the cover almost as much as between the pages, and the woman's dress, a lovely shade of pale pink, accented with a moon-shaped broach encrusted with jewels.  As she looks over her shoulder, a man standing behind her signs her dance card, and both subjects are completely absorbed in the task at hand.  It's easy to imagine these figures as the main characters in the novel, and it's such a stunning portrait for the cover of an equally stunning saga.

I also think the book looks lovely on my nightstand, which, if you're familiar with the Forsyte family, is both ironic and expected at the same time.