Against the backdrop of a world in flux at the start of a new century, Arctic Summer portrays the life of British writer E. M. Forster: his inner turmoil, his search for love and the story behind one of the greatest novels in English, A Passage to India.
In 1912, Forster follows his friend Syed Ross Masood to India. It is on this journey–travelling around the country while it is still under British rule–that the seeds of his novel are planted. But it will be another twelve years, and a second time spent in India, before his book is published. Between these two journeys lie the writing of an unpublishable novel, the outbreak of the First World War, and a long stay in Alexandria, where he has an unlikely affair with an Egyptian tram conductor.
As we follow Forster across continents–stuttering, aching, his love mostly unrequited–Galgut captures with colour and exquisite delicacy the England, India and Egypt of the era. Meticulously researched, Arctic Summer conjures the figure of Forster in all his contradictory genius, providing a fascinating glimpse into the creation of a masterpiece.