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Chris Roper Reviews Arctic Summer by Damon Galgut

Arctic SummerVerdict: carrot

On one level, the exquisitely crafted Arctic Summer is the story of how EM Forster came to write A Passage to India. It traces the years of personal evolution necessary to do that writing, from Forster’s first trip to India in 1912, where he followed his friend Masood for love, through to the novel’s eventual publication in 1924.

Perhaps the first direct echo of A Passage to India is as early as the third page of Arctic Summer, when a fellow passenger on the boat taking Forster on his first visit to India comments disparagingly on the only Indian passenger on board. “He has been to public school in England … He thinks he’s one of us, but of course he never will be.”

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