“A Room With A View” by E.M. Foster. I read it a couple of years ago or so and really didn’t like it overly much. So I wasn’t too thrilled when it came up as the next read for our book club. Well, either the book or I must have changed in the intervening time because I LOVED it this time round! Here is the passage that really gripped me and that I have found myself reflecting on again and again:
“I connect you with a view – a certain type of view. Why shouldn’t you connect me with a room?” She reflected for a moment, then said, laughing:”Do you know that you’re right? I do. […] When I think of you, it’s always as in a room. How funny!” To her surprise, he seemed annoyed. “A drawing room, pray? With no view?” “Yes, with no view, I fancy. Why not?”
(Lucy Honeychurch and Cecil Vyse)
As she ends their engagement, this is what Lucy says to Cecil:
“You’re the sort who can’t know anyone intimately. […] You may understand beautiful things, but you don’t know how to use them, and you wrap yourself up in art and books and music, and would try to wrap up me. I won’t be stifled, not by the most glorious music, for people are more glorious, and you hide them from me.”
Wow. Suddenly lots of people came to mind. People who live life kind of in a “room with no view”, who are trying to play it safe and to stay on familiar ground. And people who relish the adventure and possibilities of a view. The unknown, the yet-to-be-discovered.
I also had to think of my own life. Of decisions taken, that tried to preserve or to look out, that either opened or closed the curtains.
Stifling safety or exhilarating risk and growth and adventure?
Here’s to living life with a view!
To top it all off, there is lots of humour in the book as well. Here are a few examples:
“An electric tram came rushing underneath the window. No one was inside it, except one tourist; but its platforms were overflowing with Italians, who preferred to stand.” Picture the scene 🙂
” ‘Life’ wrote a friend of mine, ‘is a public performance on the violin, in which you must learn the instrument as you go along.’ ”
“That there were shops abroad, even in Athens, never occurred to them, for they regarded travel as a species of warfare, only to be undertaken by those who have been fully armed at the Haymarket Stores”
Definitely well worth reading! I’ll be watching the movie (again) next week. Will I like it as much as the book?