The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford, is one of the greatest examples of the spoken-word vel. Our narrator does t tell a straight, linear story. No. He forgets things, comes back to them later, revives a subject you thought dead and meaningless only to shed new light on it and make it important. Perhaps the greatest effect the book has is the after-taste. While it may seem slow, even boring, during the initial reading, it is hard to stop thinking about. Ford's vel broke new ground when it was written, something it was almost impossible to do in those jaded days. Ford created an unreliable narrator and also wrote about the complex inner workings of relationships, an area of darkness that will always be immune from full enlightenment. His characters also deceive themselves as well as significant others, and yet are always in pursuit of the perfect appearance. The subtlety with which Ford has woven this tapestry makes you think twice and then three times about who his people are and what they want. Unbridled lust also rides through the book, but is forever reigned in by double standards and self-torturing conscience. Although the book requires a patient reader so that it can bloom, its payoff stays with you, and its sharp observations and lack of sentiment make you realize what a brilliant piece of art it is. As such it is t subject to becoming dated or stale, a true test of its merit.
Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), was an English novelist, poet, critic and editor whose journals, The English Review and The Transatlantic Review, were instrumental in the development of early 20th-century English literature. He is now remembered best for his publications The Good Soldier, the Parade's End tetralogy and The Fifth Queen trilogy. The Good Soldier is frequently included among the great literature of the 20th century, including the Modern Library 100 Best Novels, The Observer's 100 Greatest Novels of All Time, and The Guardian's 1000 novels everyone must read.