Book Review: Where Angels Fear To Tread (no spoilers)

Title: Where Angels Fear To Tread

Author: E. M. Forster

Publisher: Penguin (2012 ed.)

First Published: 1905

Genre: Fiction, Drama



I can see why this book is considered a classic. It is full of raw emotion, demonstrates characters plagued by flaws, and has a well established plot with a few ironic twists.

The story is structured very well, with distinct lines between the two main locations: Sawston in England and Monteriano in Italy. Characters blatantly romanticize one while condemning the other, whilst at times seeing Romance where it probably should not be seen.

The characters cross cultural relationships are very revealing, and unique – especially reflecting the time in which the tale was written – and addresses the limitations of translation, as well as the different approaches to life of the two cultures.

The characters, all deeply flawed, show in turn manipulation, apathy, bad humour, violence, self inflicted loneliness and depression, and even borderline insanity. One of the main themes which seems prevalent in this novella is misfortune, at times ironic and at others depressing.

Although the plot is structured well, and the characters are both well developed and utilized well, I felt the writing style created a pace that seemed to drag the story down. It was difficult to get into the book, and when it finished – after a brief “Ha~ I see what you did there” moment – I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.

Overall, I felt like the book was a bit of a downbuzz, and no where near the masterpieces that it contends with. Still, if you want to read a fairly short book with good structure and use of tools such as place, symbolism and atmosphere, perhaps you will glean more from it than I did.


Fairlight out~~



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