"Birdsong" is a novel about the tenderness and the limits of human flesh, it is about men and women living at the edge. Set mostly in France spanning the years before and during the First World War, it captures the drama and destruction of that era as it tells the story of Stephen, a young Englishman who is impelled through a series of extreme ...
"Birdsong" is a novel about the tenderness and the limits of human flesh, it is about men and women living at the edge. Set mostly in France spanning the years before and during the First World War, it captures the drama and destruction of that era as it tells the story of Stephen, a young Englishman who is impelled through a series of extreme experiences, from a traumatic clandestine love affair which rips apart the bourgeois French family he lives with, through grim insanity of the Great War. In the vast scenes of suffering and the tender depiction of human love, "Birdsong" is at times almost unbearably moving to read.
This book is difficult to classify as either good or bad. Parts of it were vivd and gripping (the war scenes), but the main characters, Stephen and Isabelle, were lacking something. I really did'nt like or understand either of them. I did'nt so much see their relationship as a deep love story, but rather a giving in to lust by two people who were either bored or dissatisfied. I could not relate to Isabell's reasoning behind her actions. I understand what the author was trying to do here and I certainly respect it. If I were rating just his descriptions of the war and the soldiers I would give four and a half stars. These were outstanding. It was the fleshing out of the characters that dissappointed me.
Jul 17, 2007
A WWI LOVE STORY
ALTHOUGH WORLD WAR I IS NOT OF MUCH INTEREST TO ME, I WAS PLEASANTLY SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH I ENJOYED THIS NOVEL. IT IS A NOVEL THAT IS TO BE SAVORED BECAUSE OF THE WAY IT IS SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. I ENJOYED THE LOVE STORY BUT ALSO ENJOYED THE INFORMATION PERTAINING TO WORLD WAR I. THIS NOVEL WILL DRAW YOU INTO THE STORY AND KEEP YOU THERE.
Publishers Weekly, 1995-12-11 In 1910, England's Stephen Wraysford, a junior executive in a textile firm, is sent by his company to northern France. There he falls for Isabelle Azaire, a young and beautiful matron who abandons her abusive husband and sticks by Stephen long enough to conceive a child. Six years later, Stephen is back in France, as a British officer fighting in the trenches. Facing death, embittered by isolation, he steels himself against thoughts of love. But despite rampant disease, harrowing tunnel explosions and desperate attacks on highly fortified German positions, he manages to survive, and to meet with Isabelle again. The emotions roiled up by this meeting, however, threaten to ruin him as a soldier. Everything about this novel, which was a bestseller in England, is outsized, from its epic, if occasionally ramshackle, narrative to its gruesome and utterly convincing descriptions of battlefield horrors. Faulks (A Fool's Alphabet) proves himself a grand storyteller here. Enlivened with considerable historical detail related through accomplished prose, his narrative flows with a pleasingly appropriate recklessness that brings his characters to dynamic life. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1997-05-27 The British novelist "proves himself a grand storyteller" with this tale of WWI-era love and heartbreak, said PW. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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