Short summary - The Forsyte Saga
The action takes place in London in 1886-1887. In the house of old Jolion, a family celebration, a reception in honor of the engagement of Miss June Forsyth with Mr. Philip Bosini. There are many guests, the family is very large. Inside the Forsyth clan, as in society, the law of competition reigns, six brothers - Jolyon, James, Suizin, Nicholas, Roger and Timothy - compete which of them is richer. Their father, «Proud Dosset,» from farmers, arrived in London at the beginning of the century, worked as a bricklayer, contractor, and built houses. He had ten children, and everyone is still alive, the next generation has twenty-one young Forsyths. The family now belongs to the top of the English bourgeoisie, among its members are financiers, lawyers, rentiers, members of joint-stock companies. All of them are distinguished by possessive self-confidence, conversations in their midst always revolve around the stock price, dividends, the value of houses and things. The audience looks smart, brilliant and respectable, but there is some tension caused by the instinctive feeling of the immediate proximity of something unusual and unreliable. The object of distrust is the person for the sake of meeting whom they gathered here. Bosini is an architect, he has no fortune, he is artistically sloppy in clothing and somewhat eccentric. George - the son of Roger - calls him a pirate, and this nickname is fixed among relatives. Old Jolyon disapproves of the choice of a granddaughter who doesn’t have a soul, she gulps grief with this reckless, impractical young man, but June is a baby with character and very stubborn. but there is some tension caused by the instinctive feeling of the immediate proximity of something unusual and unreliable. The object of distrust is the person for the sake of meeting whom they gathered here. Bosini is an architect, he has no fortune, he is artistically sloppy in clothing and somewhat eccentric. George - the son of Roger - calls him a pirate, and this nickname is fixed among relatives. Old Jolyon disapproves of the choice of a granddaughter who doesn’t have a soul, she gulps grief with this reckless, impractical young man, but June is a baby with character and very stubborn. but there is some tension caused by the instinctive feeling of the immediate proximity of something unusual and unreliable. The object of distrust is the person for the sake of meeting whom they gathered here. Bosini is an architect, he has no fortune, he is artistically sloppy in clothing and somewhat eccentric. George - the son of Roger - calls him a pirate, and this nickname is fixed among relatives. Old Jolyon disapproves of the choice of a granddaughter who doesn’t have a soul, she gulps grief with this reckless, impractical young man, but June is a baby with character and very stubborn. he is artistically sloppy in clothing and somewhat eccentric. George - the son of Roger - calls him a pirate, and this nickname is fixed among relatives. Old Jolyon disapproves of the choice of a granddaughter who doesn’t have a soul, she gulps grief with this reckless, impractical young man, but June is a baby with character and very stubborn. he is artistically sloppy in clothing and somewhat eccentric. George - the son of Roger - calls him a pirate, and this nickname is fixed among relatives. Old Jolyon disapproves of the choice of a granddaughter who doesn’t have a soul, she gulps grief with this reckless, impractical young man, but June is a baby with character and very stubborn.
Old Jolyon is trying to establish a relationship with his son, father June, whom he had not seen for fourteen years. Then young Jolyon, in the name of «unlawful», according to Forsyth norms, left his family, he lives modestly, works as an insurance agent, writes in watercolor. The father, having arranged as if a casual meeting in the club, invites his son to his place, then pays a visit to him, and his grandchildren, the kids Jolly and Holly, take hold of his heart.
James's son, Soames, is dysfunctional in the family, although he hides it in every way. Forsytes perceive his wife as something unusual and foreign to their circle. The golden-haired, dark-eyed Irene looks like a pagan goddess, she is full of charm, is distinguished by her sophistication of taste and manners. After the death of her father, Professor Aaron, the young girl was left without money and in the end was forced to give in to Soames, who had been persistently seeking her hand for a year and a half. She married without love, believing the promises of a fan that if the marriage was unsuccessful, she would receive complete freedom. At the very beginning of marriage, Irene realized what mistake she made, she is burdened by a closed sphere, where she is assigned the role of a beautiful thing, the possession of which amuses her husband’s possessive self-confidence. The coldness of his wife and undisguised hostility towards him make Soames furious.
A successful business, Soames entrusts Bosini with the construction of a new country house in Robin Hill. He is increasingly worried about the sympathy that arose between his wife and the young architect, gradually developing into a mutual deep feeling. In vain, Irene starts a conversation about divorce, the husband believes that he has the right of ownership of his wife, and does not intend to indulge her folly. Four years ago, Soames was captured by the exciting beauty of Irene, and he does not want to part with what was conquered, June is experiencing a difficult change in relations with Philip, feeling that it is awkward and painful with her.
In Timothy’s house, where his unmarried sisters Ann, Esther, and the Dowager Julie live, and where the rest of the family often visits, the situation of Soames and the relationships Irene and Bosini, who are increasingly seen together, become a topic of gossip. Somsa has long been annoying that during the construction of Bosini’s house he incurs costs beyond the budget, he intends to sue and recover damages in order to bankrupt the rascal. He is enraged by the alienation of Irene. One night, when the romance of Irene and Bosini was already in full swing, Soames was finally able to insist on his rights, to break the resistance of the one who was his legitimate wife. The next day, George accidentally witnesses a meeting of lovers, where Irene talks about what happened, and then out of idle curiosity watches Bosini, who rushes through the city with great excitement,
Old Jolyon remakes the will, restoring his son's inheritance rights, he feels satisfaction from this act, regarding it as a revenge on time, the adversity, the interference of strangers in their lives and the contempt that they awarded his only son for fifteen years.
At the court, where Bosini is absent, it was decided to satisfy the Soames lawsuit against the architect. Irene leaves the house without taking things and valuables with her. Soames cannot reconcile with the thought that she will leave his life. June, who was present at the court session, hurries to notify Philip and support him, having met with Irene in his apartment, she tells her everything that is boiling, this woman, with whom she was once on friendly terms, broke her life.
Old Jolyon informs his family of his intention to gather them all under one roof. June begs grandfather to buy Soames’s house in Robin Hill, or at least to pay the suit. It turns out that on that ill-fated day, Bosini fell under a omnibus in the fog and was crushed to death.
Young Jolyon perceives what happened as the first crack in the stronghold of Forsyth well-being. Somsa is oppressed by longing. Suddenly, Irene returns to the house, like a wounded beast in her hole; driven, lost, she is not able to realize how to live on, where to go. Out of sympathy, old Jolyon sends her a son to her, maybe Irene needs help. But Soames, announcing that he would not allow him to interfere in his family affairs, slams the door in front of him.
Last summer of Forsyth
Four years pass by. Old Jolyon bought the ill-fated house of his nephew Soames and settled there with his family. June with her father and stepmother went on a trip to Spain, and the old man, bored, awaits their return and willingly indulges the fantasies of the grandchildren left with him. He likes to sit in the shade of an oak tree in front of the terrace of the house, admiring the beautiful view. The beauty of nature finds a deep response in his soul, here in Robin Hill, he ceases to feel his age, and yet he is already eighty-five.
Walking around the neighborhood on a May day, old Jolyon meets Irene, who visits these places where she was once happy. He involuntarily succumbs to the charm of this extraordinary woman, invites her to dine, makes a visit to her modest apartment, they attend the opera together. Irene bribes his warmth, affectionate participation, pleases the opportunity to talk about a deceased lover. If earlier Jolyon was yearning, now he is waiting for the return of his son and June, almost with fear. As he will explain this strange friendship, apparently, he will have to admit that he is an old man, surrender to the grace of care and love. But he could not stand it if he was deprived of the opportunity to see Irene. He lives these meetings, not the past, like people of his age. On a hot July day, on the eve of the return of his family, in anticipation of the arrival of Irene, he falls asleep in his chair with eternal sleep.
In the loop
The novel takes place in 1899-1901.
In the house of Timothy, which is a kind of Foresight exchange, there is still an exchange of family gossip and quotation of family shares. The older generation of the Forsytes has thinned out, Ann, Suisin, Susan, Roger are dying. Relatives still can not calm down about the almost secret funeral of old Jolion, who died in 1892, the first one changed the family crypt in Highgate, ordered to bury himself in Robin Hill. And to think only - Iren left fifteen thousand pounds by will - to the escaped wife of his nephew Soames. Then the rights of the old Jolion to the title of true Forsyth collapsed once and for all. And Soames' capital over the twelve years of his lonely life, during which he had little interest, has grown extraordinarily.
His sister Winfried has misfortune: her reckless husband Montagu Darty fled with a Spanish dancer. He was previously considered a «dandelion» in the family, he never loved money for the sake of money and despised the Forsytes for their interest in investing. Darty always appreciated the fact that money could be used to buy «feelings», Winfried, whose family life was difficult enough for all these years, was confused, no matter what, she was still used to treating an impolite husband as her property. What is it like to stay at forty-two years old with four children! Soames refers to his sister with participation, both of them in the ridiculous position of undiluted Forsytes. Such ambiguity has been of particular concern to Soames recently. He is increasingly worried about the idea that he does not have an heir. He looked after an already suitable option for a new marriage - twenty-year-old Frenchwoman Annette, daughter of Madame Lamet, owner of the Brittany restaurant in Soho. Soames is preparing a sister's divorce proceedings, and he himself is not averse to dissolving the marriage, which ended twelve years ago, as soon as possible.
Young Jolyon is experiencing a period of success, he is at the forefront of watercolor artists, his paintings are well sold out. June, who has always taken a passionate part in the fate of those who find it difficult, takes care of the future geniuses of the artistic world, dreams of acquiring an exhibition salon. After the death of his father, Jolyon is a very wealthy man, for several years he is a widower. Quite unexpected for him is a visit to Robin Hill Soames, who was accompanied by nineteen-year-old nephew Bel Darty. The young man is going to study in Oxford, where the son of Jolion Jolly is studying, it would be nice for young people to get to know each other. From the first meeting, Val falls in love with Holly, reciprocating with him. Soames informs Jolyon of his intention to divorce Irene and asks him to mediate in this case.
Jolyon goes to Irene, whom he had not seen for twelve years. He is greatly impressed by the noble beauty of this woman, over whom time seems to have no power. People who do not live are well preserved, she remarks bitterly and readily responds to the proposal for divorce. But Soames will have to take the initiative. How strange the life of both of these people is paralyzed, Jolyon muses, as if both were in a loop.
Soames visits Irene to force a divorce case, and is forced to admit that this woman still worries him. He leaves her house, confused, bewildered, with pain in her heart, with vague anxiety. He marks his next visit to the thirty-seventh anniversary of the birth of Irene, brings a diamond brooch as a gift. He agrees to forget everything, asks her to return, give birth to his son. The answer sounds like a whip blow: "I would rather die." In an effort to get rid of the harassment of her ex-husband, Irene goes abroad. Soames appeals to the detective agency with an order to establish surveillance of her. He justifies himself by the fact that he cannot continue to stay in the web, and in order to break it, he has to resort to such a vile method. Jolyon goes to Paris, where he meets with Irene, his belated passion turns into a strong feeling. And then Soames himself goes to Paris with the intention to once again break Irene’s resistance, her unwillingness to accept a reasonable offer and create a relatively tolerable existence for himself and him. Irene is forced to hide again from his persecution.
At the hearing on the lawsuit Winfried decided to restore marital rights. Soames’s calculation that this would be a stepping stone to his sister’s divorce is not justified; after a while, the docile Darty returns home. The wife agrees to accept it.
The Boer War breaks out. June is getting ready to become a sister of mercy. Jolly discovers that Val and Holly are engaged. For a long time he no longer liked the young hangman caring for his sister. To thwart this alliance, Jolly encourages Val, too, to volunteer for the front. Holly, along with June, also goes to Africa.
After the departure of the children, Jolyon feels depressing loneliness. But then Irene arrives, and they decide to unite their fates. During his stay in Paris, the information defaming Irene was accumulated, which Soames intends to use in court. Since he is unreasonably trying to blame her, it would be wiser to cut the node and support its version. Jolyon is worried about the death of his son, who died in a foreign land from dysentery.
There is a divorce proceedings, in which Soames finally finds freedom, there is no defendant, Irene and Jolion travel across Europe. Six months later, the wedding of Soames and Annette is celebrated. Val and Holly got married in Africa, Val is wounded and asks James's grandfather to buy a plot of land and a farm so that he can raise horses. For Soames, this is another blow: his nephew married the daughter of his rival, Irene has a son, which brings Soames new suffering. He and Annette are also expecting offspring. But the hope of the heir is not justified, a daughter is born, who is given the name Fleur. Annette's birth was difficult, and she would have no more children. To a dying father, who had long dreamed of a grandson, Soames is forced to lie that he has a son. And yet, despite the frustration that befell him, he feels a sense of triumph, a joyful sense of possession.
The action takes place in 1920. Jolyon is already seventy-two years old, his third marriage lasts twenty years. Soames is sixty-five years old, Annette is forty. Soames does not have a soul in his daughter; Fleur completely filled his heart. With his wife they are completely alien, people, he doesn’t even care that the rich Belgian Prosper Profon is wandering around Annette. He knows little about relatives now. The aunts died, there is no longer a Foresight exchange, only Timothy remained from the older generation, who, because of the manic fear of infection, for decades was almost invisible to the rest of the Forsytes, he was one hundred and one years old, and fell into senile dementia. Val returned, selling a farm in South Africa, and bought an estate in Sussex.
Soames embraced an avid collector, in understanding the paintings he is no longer limited to knowing their market price. One day in the exhibition salon, whose owner is June, he meets Irene with his son. To his great displeasure, Fleur and John met. Soames is then forced to explain to his daughter that they are in a long-standing feud with this relative.
Fleur and John accidentally end up visiting Val and Holly. Among the idylls of rural nature, their romance begins. The hosts in every possible way avoid talking about the causes of enmity - such was Jolyon's instruction.
Soames is alarmed by her daughter's infatuation. He gives a clear preference to her other admirer - Michael Mont, the future holder of the title and land holdings, persistently seeking her favor. He constantly inspires Fleur that he does not want to have anything to do with that branch of the Forsyth family. Irene is also worried, trying to separate the lovers, she takes her son for a couple of months to Spain. June, who takes care of Jolion who was left alone, reproaches his father for cowardice; he had to tell John everything as it is. If young people really love each other, why make them unhappy in the name of the past.
Fleur finds in his father's photographs of a young woman whom Irene recognizes, and is tormented by the guesses of what lies behind all this. Monsieur Profon willingly reveals to her family secrets. Soames persuades Fleur to retreat, nothing will come out anyway, those two hate him. How terrible that Fleur inherited a passion for her son Irene. But his feeling is already thirty-five years old, and their acquaintance lasts only two months. He advises his daughter to leave this madness, which obviously will not end in any good.
Jolyon is getting worse every day. Anticipating that a serious conversation with his son might not take place, he writes a letter to John, where he tells the whole truth about the past and demands to leave Fleur. If he does not end this love, he will make his mother miserable for the rest of her days. A cruel, dark past falls upon John, but he does not have time to communicate with his father, Jolyon dies. Upon learning of his death, Soames regards her as retribution: for twenty years his enemy enjoyed his wife and house taken from him.
Fleur shows tenacious tenacity. She still manages to persuade her father to go on a visit to Irene. Soames Again at Robin Hill. Here is the house built for him and Irene, the house whose builder destroyed his family hearth. Some irony of fate is that Fleur can enter him as a mistress. Irene shifts the decision to John. The same emphatically declares that between him and Fleur it is all over, he must fulfill the dying will of his father. Although Soames is pleased that this unnatural marriage, in his opinion, will not happen and that he returned his daughter, even at the cost of her happiness, he can’t overcome bewilderment and frustration: these people also rejected his daughter.
Fleur finally agrees to marry Michael Mont, however, without giving a hint, she deeply worries about what happened. A magnificent wedding is celebrated, the young go on a honeymoon.
Timothy dies. A sign appears on the memorable Forsyth house: "For rent." At the auction, things are sold that are few hunters, because they do not meet modern taste, but Soames has so many memories connected with them, he bitterly thinks that the last comfort of the old world is disappearing. Soames enters the gallery, where the watercolors of Jolion Forsyth are exhibited. Here for the last time he sees Irene - John bought land in British Columbia, and she leaves for her son. House in Robin Hill for sale.