jksquires, October 16, 2013 (view all comments by jksquires)
This is a beautifully written panoramic novel by the great Thomas Keneally. It tells the story of two sisters who leave their homestead in Australia both to volunteer as nurses in the Great War. The two sisters, Naomi and Sally, are not particularly close before this life changing experience, but come to understand each other and grow closer through their harrowing war-time experiences. Keneally's attention to detail is astonishing. The author based his novel on journals of nurses who served in World War I and he has worked a true magic in bringing them to life and the lesson of the futility of war is one for all conflicts to come.
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karami, September 27, 2013 (view all comments by karami)
This is a book which seems designed to be the Great Australian Novel - huge in scope, and yet intimate in its exploration of individual lives. It ranks with Birdsong and Private Peaceful as one the best fictional accounts of World War 1 I have read. Apart from the gripping and moving depiction of the sinking of the Archimedes, it doesn't venture into the immediate terror of war, but captures more than any other book I've read the complex feelings and attitudes of the people of the time. I fell in love with the characters, even the minor ones, and started to dread the end of the story because I knew I would miss them all.
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"The horrific butcher's bill of WWI trench fighting, which took a toll not only on the wounded soldiers but on the doctors and nurses who tended to them, is at the heart of this moving epic novel from the author of Schindler's List. The story is told through the experiences of two sisters, Sally and Naomi Durance, both nurses, who enter the morally complex area of treating the devastatingly injured with peacetime experience. Eight months before the call went out from the Australian government for military nurses, Naomi apparently used some extra morphine that Sally had procured to end their mother's suffering from inoperable cervical cancer. The euthanasia both drew the siblings together in a conspiracy of silence and created a barrier between them. Their duties take them to Egypt and Europe, as they struggle to stay alive, and to stay mentally composed despite the awful situations they must confront. By again using individuals to humanize a larger story, Keneally succeeds in conveying the experience to his readers in a manageable way. Agent: Amanda Urban, ICM." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
by The New York Times Book Review,
"Poignant...masterly...epic...[Keneally] has rescued forgotten heroines from obscurity and briefly placed them center stage."
by The Guardian,
"Magnificent...a stunning performance, full of suspense, searing particulars, and deep emotion....The huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display."
by The Spectator, One of the Best Books of 2012,
"May be the best novel of Keneally's career...a book that aims for, and achieves, real grandeur."
by Kirkus Reviews, starred review,
"Extraordinarily moving...Keneally is a master of character development and period detail....Fans of Downton Abbey and Gallipoli alike will find much to admire in Keneally's fast-moving, flawlessly written pages."
by The Times (London),
"Superbly exciting to read....An unmissable, unforgettable tribute."
by The Telegraph,
"Not only is The Daughters of Mars one of the most ambitious novels in a career that stretches back to 1964, but it might even be the best....The result is something few other authors would aim for, let alone achieve: genuine grandeur."
by LA Times,
"An epic, sweeping book."
"Greatly detailed...boasts authentic characters set in equally authentic locations."
From the acclaimed author of Schindler's List, the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters from Australia, both trained nurses, whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first World War.
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