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`Why can't people have what they want? The things were all there to content everybody; yet everybody has the wrong thing.'
Just before the First World War, two young couples meet in Germany. The seemingly perfect yet brittle relationship of the Ashburnhams soon gives way to unhappiness and betrayal, and respectability to adultery and deception. The Dowells are no less affected by infidelity, and everyone caught up in their four lives is tainted by emotional turmoil and moral ambiguity, and tragic consequences follow.
Inspired by his own life, Ford Madox Ford's novel, originally titled `The Saddest Story', utilised the device of the unreliable narrator to tell his universal story of love and loss.
Ford Madox Ford, born in Surrey in 1873, was a prolific novelist, poet, critic and editor. Born to a German father and an English mother, he was brought up in London, later living in Kent and Sussex, and, after the First World War, in France and America. He enlisted in 1915 and served from 1916-1917, during the Battle of the Somme and at the Ypres Salient. His journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th Century English literature, but he is best remembered for his highly-regarded publications The Good Soldier, the four novels known as Parade's End and the historical Fifth Queen trilogy.