"She had to have men at her feet; that was, as it were, the price of her - purely social - daily bread as it was the price of the daily bread of her intimates."
This is an interminably lengthy novel that has taken me the better part of the year to finish, admittedly while consuming a vast array of other stories 'on the side' as it were. Quite appropriate really given the subject matter of the bulky tale. War, adultery, self-sacrifice, honour, doing the right thing and suffering for it; there is a lot going on within its many pages.
Thankfully, the sight of Mr Cumberbatch on the cover aided my perseverance some what and I was therefore able to finally complete all 906 pages. Having enjoyed Madox Ford's The Good Soldier, I had eagerly anticipated reading his other novel for quite some time and yet a busy schedule and the thought of such a heavy tome often dissuaded me from beginning it. Nevertheless, its inclusion on every must read list meant I was destined to tackle it eventually.
Now I can tick this one off from quite a few must read lists. On reflection, it is beautifully written with some gorgeous prose. Yet it is melancholy and difficult in subject matter and did I mention that there is just so much of it? I had even traipsed around overseas with it, hoping to make a dent during a plane trip or two. That never happened and my luggage merely remained heavy thanks to its presence. I'm sure, had I been stranded on a beautiful tropical island, I might have finished it a little sooner and had a more favourable impression.
4 out of 5 times when you have lots of time you can read an epic.