Howards End had some really clever moments in it and some fascinating things to say about the importance of one’s inner life. However, it is (nicely put) very English–specifically, early twentieth century English–which means that it might be a bit confusing for the modern reader. Most important to note is that it was written before the World Wars so some of what it talked about might seem naive or short-sighted.
This note is especially important since the main characters of the novel are half English and half German. When Germany is talked about, it is referred to as a place of philosophers and musical composers. Keep that in mind as you read.
The German is always on the lookout for beauty. He may miss it through stupidity, or misinterpret it, but he is always asking beauty to enter his life, and I believe that in the end it will come.
Mostly, I found the characters delightful—the Schlegel sisters are too clever for their own good and they tend to be more vocal about it then most people would like. Wit is something this novel has plenty of which is always a delight for me.
I believe we shall come to care about people less and less, Helen. The more people one knows, the easier it becomes to replace them. It’s one of the curses of London. I quite expect to end my life caring most for a place.
More than anything, this novel made me think about one’s inner life, something I don’t do enough of. I, sadly, am one of many people who tend to judge my success in life based on how much stuff I can accomplish in a day–I’m a big fan of to-do lists. This novel was a nice break that I’ll probably come back to in a year or so.
ALSO: I have a Twitter account now! Fair warning, I have no idea how this Twitter thing works so just give me some time to figure it out. Thanks!