I’ll admit I have not read any of E.M. Forster’s novels before, though I have seen the film adaptation of A Room with a View. As is often the case for me, reading these older British novels makes me hit a bit of a wall in terms of the language that I don’t when watching adaptations: for some reason the manner of speech is hard for me to get into! But do I keep reading such books anyways? Obviously! And truly sometimes I forget my struggles. But that is not to say that this book is not good, just a little difficult for me, personally, to follow at times.
Maurice is about the eponymous young man, Maurice, in early 20th century England, making his way through college and into adulthood, but with the distinct feeling that the goal of a wife and children is not what he ultimately wants. Eventually he comes to grow attached to a fellow student, named Clive, and the two realize that their affections for one another are not simply platonic. The story then continues on over the years as the two fall in and out of favor of one another, and Maurice struggles to accept his homosexuality given the societal and religious views at the time. Clive’s on-and-off affections for him also create an inner turmoil that inevitably creates cracks in Maurice’s sense of identity, and he struggles with relationships outside of this longstanding one that had so much love at one point in time.
The story itself is straightforward, and the emotions real: nothing is as simple as it could be, and complications in situation always come into play. There is a lightness to this novel, and the hopeful resolution made this certainly a much more positive reading experience for me that it would have been had the ending led to nothing but tragedy, as is so often the case in older stories of homosexuality.
Ultimately, Maurice is just as long as it needs to be, at times distressing and at times a little fun. But again, my difficulties with the writing style left me feeling a little hollow as I made my way through and lost the point a few times. For those who enjoy this genre and timeframe of writing though, I don’t think it would be an issue at all!
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