Swan Song by John Galsworthy

In Swan Song which seems to be the last book in the Forsyte Saga (although a few more books were written which feature some Forsytes I think) it’s 1926, a time of political upheaval, the miners are on strike and there is of course THE General Strike.

I suppose The General Strike was a battle between the upper classes and the working classes. Jon Forsyte, the man who broke Fleur’s heart is now married and has returned from America, he’s helping to keep the trains running. Fleur isn’t at all bothered that they are both now married and of course as she says herself, she must get what she wants. Soames is worried about her as he knows that she is just like him.

So the country is in a mess and those men who survived the trenches are now being treated like scum by the bosses. Michael Mont, Fleur’s husband, is still a Member of Parliament, and he is now trying to gather a group of influential men together to help to improve living conditions in the slums of London, where if you bang a nail into the wall, things crawl out.

Meanwhile Soames is thinking about the future, and how long he might have to live. The Forsytes are a long-lived lot but he feels the need to track down his ancestors, just as many people do nowadays. He has always been intrigued by the fact that his family had come from poor yeoman stock who within a few generations had amassed fortunes in business after moving to London.

These books were so popular in their day because they feature everything that we’re familiar with – families and the odd dodgy relative that most of us have if we dig deep enough, a political background which doesn’t really ever change – we’re always in a mess, a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy – and they often aren’t any happier than the rest of us, and other people’s immorality! I was sad to get to the end of it.

If you want to read the books you can do so online here.

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