Synopses & Reviews
Eighty years ago, the city of London became the target of a relentless bombing campaign by Nazi Germany during WWII that has come to be known as the Blitz. From the period between 1940-1945, over 20,000 Londoners were killed and half a million lost their homes. Bryher, who lived through a good part of those years in London, has provided us with an indelible portrait of day-to-day life from a variety of voices and perspectives from its regular citizens, humanizing the political backdrop of war with their pluck, humor, endurance, and courage. Her two female protagonists who own and operate the local teashop, The Warming Pan, become the heroes of the novel as they work to provide food and hospitality to the embattled community. The Beowulf of the title, far from the epic hero of the fundamental Anglo Saxon legend, is the name of the teashop's mascot: a plaster sculpture of a bulldog that they discover in the rubble after a heavy bombing raid that they make the centerpiece of their cafe. It becomes a symbol in turn for the fortitude and patient suffering of those innocent civilians caught in the maelstrom of war. Certain to appeal to all fans of WWII fiction, Beowulf is an unforgettable reminder of what it was like during that crucial time in Britain's and the world's history.