"I've reread this book every summer for the last five years. Galsworthy is best remembered for this saga of three books (plus a few short stories) following the Forsyte family through the 1880s and into the 1920s. Yes, it's long, but this is amazingly great Brit Lit. Galsworthy's one of the forgotten greats; his language is beautiful, flowing, and captures so many truths that my copy is riddled with multi-colored post-its where I just had to mark a sentence because the sound and sentiment made my breath catch in my chest.
Soames Forsyte is our 'protagonist.' He represents the Victorian figure of the Man of Property. He can only posses his wife, Irene, but cannot make her feel loved. Irene is the epitome of Beauty, that indefinable quality that can't be understood. I loved how Soames is so unlikeable but you always pity him. He's a product of the time (like all the Forsytes), and desires beauty above all but just can't figure out how to cherish it without crushing it.
My favorite aspect of the book is that the narrative switches between all the Forsyte family members but is never told from Irene's perspective. We can never know what lies behind the eyes of Beauty, but by reading The Forsyte Saga, you get a chance to appreciate it."
The three novels which make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family between 1886 and 1920. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women. This is the only critical edition of the work available, with notes that explain contemporary artistic and literary allusions and define the slang of the time.