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The Good Soldier

Ford Madox Ford

Book Overview: 

The Good Soldier is set just before World War I and chronicles the tragedies of the lives of two seemingly perfect couples. The novel is told using a series of flashbacks in non-chronological order, a literary technique pioneered by Ford. It also makes use of the device of the unreliable narrator, as the main character gradually reveals a version of events that is quite different from what the introduction leads you to believe. The novel was loosely based on two incidents of adultery and on Ford's messy personal life.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I do not believe that he could. Why, even I, at this distance of time am aware that I am a little in love with her memory. I can't help smiling when I think suddenly of her—as you might at the thought of something wrapped carefully away in lavender, in some drawer, in some old house that you have long left. She was so—so submissive. Why, even to me she had the air of being submissive—to me that not the youngest child will ever pay heed to. Yes, this is the saddest story...

No, I cannot help wishing that Florence had left her alone—with her playing with adultery. I suppose it was; though she was such a child that one has the impression that she would hardly have known how to spell such a word. No, it was just submissiveness—to the importunities, to the tempestuous forces that pushed that miserable fellow on to ruin. And I do not suppose that Florence really made much difference. If it had not been for her that Ashburnham left his al. . . Read More

Community Reviews

“I don't know what anyone has to be proud of.”
― Ford Madox Ford, The Good Soldier

What? You mean this novel isn't about war? Is it possible to hate a book and love it at the same time? This is one of those books where it immediately becomes obvious you aren't going to read this novel for the stri...more

Oh! Propriety!

Nowadays there's a word for Edward Ashburnham. And I don't mean some modern vulgarity, unavailable to the Edwardians, something like emotional fuck-up, appropriate as that may be (or not). No, I'm thinking serial monogamist. The term is new, because the concept is new. At the turn o...more

"In all matrimonial associations there is, I believe, one constant factor - a desire to deceive the person with whom one lives as to some weak spot in one's character." (page 86)

"Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise"

Most of us aspire to knowledge and perhaps we hope it will lead to wis...more

«Ο καλός στρατιώτης», ένα μοναδικό και υπέροχο μυθιστόρημα, μια πολύπλοκη, περίπλοκη ιστορία αναφορικά με τα ανθρώπινα κίνητρα,την πρόθεση και την εμπειρία.

Η ιστορία αφορά κυρίως την φιλία και τη φαινομενικά άψογη σχέση ανάμεσα σε δυο ζευγάρια.

Το ανδρόγυνο της εύπορης αμερικανικής κοινωνίας και...more

«Αυτή: η πιο θλιβερή ιστορία που έχω ποτέ μου ακούσει». Αυτή είναι η πρώτη πρόταση του Καλού Στρατιώτη και κατά την γνώμη μου η πιο περιεκτική όλου του μυθιστορήματος. Δεν είναι τυχαίο άλλωστε που ο ίδιος ο Ford είχε επιλέξει ως αρχικό τίτλο του βιβλίου το «Η πιο θλιβερή ιστορία» κάτι που δεν έγι...more

“We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.”

This novel is so stunning. Oh my god. I did not expect it to be this good.

After reading this a second time for my term paper, I'm still in awe of this book. I've never read an...more

« Αυτή: η πιο θλιβερή ιστορία που έχω ποτέ μου ακούσει – η πιο θλιβερή ».

Είναι η φράση οδοδείκτης με την οποία ο Ford Madox Ford υποδέχεται τους αναγνώστες του σε τούτο το μυθιστόρημα - κομψοτέχνημα που, διόλου άδικα, συγκαταλέγεται στα αριστουργήματα της παγκόσμιας λογοτεχνίας. Είναι η εισαγωγή...more

What a sick, rotten, depraved society we're treated to, populated by liars and knaves, and yet I found myself heartbroken by the end, wondering what kind of magic spell Ford had cast on me. Ford is an absolute master of technique--in this case the use of flashbacks and an unreliable narrator--and...more

The Good Soldier I found to be a difficult book to grasp, at least to begin with. I felt the need to go back over the first 40 pages or so, just to try and accustom myself to it. Things paid of in the end, but it really did require patience, a quiet room, and reading big chunks at a time, rather...more

Storytelling is about as much an art as is writing. Any piece of paper can have beautifully constructed sentences, impeccable prose, dazzling verses, yet when there simply is nothing to tell all those words are moot. The alarming strength of the Good Soldier can be found in its maze-like narratio...more

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