The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford

thegoodsoldier

This book came into my life on a Wee Book Inn trip characterized by a not-atypical lack of self control. I had wanted to read Ford Madox Ford for some time, and this is the book to read, so I bought it and then it sat on my bookshelf for a year. Now I’ve read it. Now I want to read more of him.

For those unfamiliar, Ford Madox Ford was akin to the godfather of the Lost Generation. He founded The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, and upon befriending folks like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce, and Ezra Pound, he went on to publish them. His work is often overshadowed by theirs. This actually weighed very heavily on him – every writer wants to be known, and when you’re friends with somebody like Hemingway, you will always feel lesser for it. And that’s a shame, because he was actually a great writer.

This book, The Good Soldier, was published in 1915 and has a lot of similarities to later Lost Generation work. The unreliable narrator thing (heyyy, Nick Carraway, how you doin’) is used to great effect, and the story meanders all over the place – starts at the end, more or less. You wind up with an immense feeling of satisfaction, because this meandering, scandalous love story is actually how we tell stories. It feels familiar, and it holds up across a century.

Books read: 28

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