Richard Davenporthines

What E.M. Forster didn’t do

A review of Arctic Summer, by Damon Galgut. Portraying the novelist as a fusty, virginal defeatist doesn't make for thrilling fiction

An almost masochistic docility: E.M. Forster in his youth [Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

‘On the whole I think you should write biographies of those you admire and respect, and novels about human beings whom you think are sadly mistaken,’ said Penelope Fitzgerald in 1987. The South African novelist Damon Galgut has reversed this formula — with mixed results. He has written a novel about a fellow novelist, E.M.

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