Concerning E. M. Forster by Frank Kermode is a lovely volume as befits quality publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The subject matter, too, is perfect for this publisher, one of the few
who publish literary criticism these days.
Author Kermode is a well-known critic who has ties to Forster through Cambridge University where
Forster was schooled, sort of the seven links removed kind of thing. He ranges widely on everything
from the musicality in Forsterís work to Forsterís best-known work, A Passage to India. One
assumes that a reader would not come to this book without more than a passing knowledge of Forsterís
work and a penchant for literary criticism.
Though I should fit into this category, I found the book a bit tedious until Kermode tackled
Passage. This in spite of the fact that the critic is capable of being a bit curmudgeonly about
Forsterís work, and in spite of his obvious attachment to both the man and his work.
As expected, this book would make a lovely gift for a very specific niche. It is academic and
thoughtful. Here is my warning. Do not buy it or give it to someone merely because they were English
majors. This book is for the few. Those smitten with the likes of Proust, Virginia Woolf and, of
course, Forster himself. In fact, it is for readers who were recently immersed in a Forster seminar
at the graduate level or have a memory that continues to echo with Forster prose.