Apr 27, 2007
This is a very slim volume but within its pages lie the most moving account of the catastrophe that was the First World War as seen by the Irish. The emotions are understated and thus all the more powerful, and the reader is drawn inexorably into the lives of the two chief characters, Jerry and Alexander. Their experiences at the front seem unexceptional by the standards of the day, but the quiet simplicity of the writing brings home to us in the twenty first century just how degrading and ghastly life was for them. The ending, which comes with a stark swiftness that is breathtaking, is totally in tune with the characters and the times.