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“We are all so afraid, we are all so alone, we all so need from the outside the assurance of our own worthiness to exist.” ― from The Good Soldier
Originally titled “The Saddest Story” and heralded by Graham Greene as “one of the finest novels of our century,” Ford’s 1915 tale of passion and deceit in the lives of two married couples is a modernist masterpiece.
It begins famously and ominously, "This is the saddest story I have ever heard." The book then proceeds to confute this pronouncement at every turn, exposing a world less sad than pathetic, and more shot through with hypocrisy and deceit than its incredulous narrator, John Dowell, cares to imagine. And although its narrative hook--the philandering of an otherwise noble man--no longer shocks, its unerring cadences and doleful inevitabilities proclaim an enduring appeal.
For the busy and the lazy, here is the free audio version: