Publication Date: 1910
Page Count: 359
Howard's End is the second read off of my 2015 Classics and Rereads List.
Howard's End is the story of the house, aptly named Howard's End, and the effect the house has on the lives of the Schlegel sisters, the Wilcox family, and an a poor bank clerk named Leonard Bast.
This was my first Forster novel, and before starting it, I had no idea what it was about or the themes it would touch on. I listened to one of my favorite free audiobook readers read the novel, and I really enjoyed the novel and the audiobook.
The Schlegel sisters, Margaret and Helen, were great characters; they were exactly the female characters I love to see in classic novels. They were unconventional for their time, and unmarried. The character development of Margaret and Mr. Wilcox was quite involved, and I grew to quite like and respect Margaret.
To me, the biggest theme and idea presented in this novel was the idea of connection (there was also comments on England's future and current standings, which can be a little difficult for me to pick up on sometimes as I am not from England and don't posses a very detailed knowledge of the country's history and politics.) The most well known line from this novel is "Only connect" and the idea of connection in all forms is mentioned numerous times in the novel. The differences in how men and women connect to the world around them is also discussed quite frequently, along with how this impacts society as a whole.
The different forms of connection explored in this novel were interesting. Mrs. Wilcox is so connected with Howard's End that she seems to become part of the house. The house (and therefore Mrs. Wilcox) connect the unlikely cast of characters together, where they continue to form new connections between each other. Margret finds it infuriating that the men around her cannot connect the "prose and the passion" in their lives together , and therefore the men in the novel struggle to connect to the women.
This is one of those classics where not much happens action wise, but the narration and themes are rich and entertaining and you don't mind the lack of action. This novel posses that calming and comfortable atmosphere of a British classic and I highly recommend it. I am eager to read more of Forster's works, and will probably be picking them up in the near future.