The Loopy Librarian, September 4, 2013 (view all comments by The Loopy Librarian)
Birdsong was passionate and yet dispassionate, graphic yet cold, unflinching yet painful. It was a study in contrasts as is often the case with the subjects of love and war. The author does not glorify love or war but rather exposes their ugly underbellies �" what happens when desperation takes hold. The descriptions of war were almost poetic in their brutality. Love was not as romantic as dreamers like to think it is. I felt the horror of it all, particularly the battle of the Somme, and saw how it could destroy a man or change him irrevocably. The ending was appropriate but seemed almost cliche compared to the rest of this remarkable book. I highly recommend it for readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in World War I.
cariola119, November 29, 2009 (view all comments by cariola119)
Faulks's vivid prose captures better than any other novel I've read the experience of being a soldier in the trenches in World War I. Stephen Wraysford, recovering from a passionate romance that didn't work out as planned, finds himself, like so many other young men, struggling to survive in the tunnels, trenches, and fields of France. The descriptions of battles, bodies, and wounds are horrific; I couldn't help but think what a sanitized view of warfare we are given today. In the midst of it all, Stephen is torn between wanting to withdraw into himself--why make friends with a man who might be blown to bits beside you the next day?--and to retain a measure of humanity. There's a second story line, set in the late 1970s, as Stephen's granddaughter uncovers a series of family secrets; but it's the reality of war that makes this novel memorable.
Lucy Little, August 31, 2008 (view all comments by Lucy Little)
For many, the tragic love story is the compelling part of this story. I personally was intrigued by the war scenes. The story takes place in Europe during World War I, formally known as the Great War. The soldiers suffered through horrid conditions with lasting effects even on those who survived. I recommend this book for those who like a romantic novel and those who like living history.
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Vintage Books USA -
"Superb storytelling and craftsmanship....[A] tribute to the durability of the human soul."
by Frank Conroy,
"Birdsong moved me more profoundly than anything I've read in years....A deeply compassionate, utterly thrilling work by a master of the form."
by Los Angeles Times,
"The accounts of combat are among the finest I have ever read...so powerful as to be almost unbearable...a tribute to the author's remarkable skill and tact and dazzling virtuosity."
by The Times (London),
"Magnificent — gorgeously written, deeply moving, rich in detail."
by Quentin Crewe, The Daily Mail (London),
"An amazing book — among the most stirringly erotic I have read for years....I have read it and re-read it and can think of no other novel for many, many years that has so moved me or stimulated in me so much reflection on the human spirit."
by Michael Gorra, The New York Times Book Review,
"Birdsong seems to me superb. His prose is spare and precise."
by Nigel Watts, Time Out,
"This is literature at its very best: a book with the power to reveal the unimagined, so that one's life is set in a changed context. I urge you to read it."
by Brian Masters, Mail on Sunday,
"One of the finest novels of the last 40 years."
by Simon Schama, New Yorker,
"Ambitious, outrageous, poignant, sleep-disturbing, Birdsong is not a prefect novel — just a great one."
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