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Arctic Summer

375 pages6 hours


The year is 1912, and the SS Birmingham is approaching India. On board is Edward Morgan Forster, a reserved man taunted by writer's block, attempting to come to terms with his art and his repressed sexuality. Damon Galgut's brilliant fictional biography lures readers into E.M. Foster's heroic journey of self-discovery, as the novelist confronts his fraught childhood, falls in unrequited love with his closest friend, and finds himself surprisingly freed to explore his "minorite" desires as secretary to a most unusual Maharajah. Slowly, the strands of a story begin to gather in his mind: a sense of impending menace, lust in close confines, under a hot, empty sky. But it will be another twelve years and a second stay in India before the publication of his finest work, A Passage to India.

Shifting across the landscapes of India, Egypt, and England, Forster's life is informed by his relationships—from Mohammed el Adl, an Egyptian tram conductor whose companionship becomes invaluable, to the Greek literary titan, poet C.P. Cavafy. This reimagining of Forster's life is at once enlightening, humorous and deeply convincing—a clear ad sympathetic psychological probing of one of Britain's finest novelists. As The Financial Times notes: "The concern is Forster's inner life, and Galgut inhabits him with such sympathetic completeness, and in prose of such modest excellence that he starts to breathe on the page." Readers will share in his struggle with repression and self-acceptance, and witness the gradual unfolding of a literary masterpiece. Arctic Summer is a powerfully candid portait of an author, created by one of the finet writers of his generation.

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