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Strange Meeting (Nonpareil Book) Paperback – April 1, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Nonpareil Book
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine (April 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879238305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879238308
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,091,881 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Susan Hill's novels include I'm the King of the Castle and Mrs de Winter, a sequel to Du Maurier's Rebecca. She is also well known for her children's books (including Can It Be True?, which won the Smarties Prize). She has written non-fiction and autobiography and is a regular broadcaster and reviewer. She is married to the Shakespeare scholar Stanely Wells, and they live in a Gloucestershire village from which she runs a small publishing company called Long Barn Books. You can see her website at www.susan-hill.com. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By anirak@asiaonline.net on October 6, 1998
Format: Paperback
Set against the horrors of the First World War, this novel portrays the friendship of two young officers. Hilliard is a veteran of combat, a reserved and isolated young man who prefers the stark reality of the front line, where he follows orders and makes only simple decisions based on life or death, to the political and social complications of his previous existence in England. He is initially displeased to find he will be sharing quarters with a new officer, Barton, but he soon warms to the open honesty and affectionate nature of his room-mate. Barton causes him to re-evaluate his approach to the war, to family, and to his whole philosophy of living.
When the inevitable happens, and Hilliard and Barton are sent up to the front line together, Hilliard sees the atrocities of combat with new eyes. He also sees the effect they have on Barton, and for perhaps the first time in his life Hilliard feels the pain of another human being.
An essentially slow-moving novel, this is a sensitive imaginative account of the horrors of World War One. However, it lacks the passion and veracity of, for example, "All Quiet On The Western Front", and shares something of the coldness and distance from humanity of its central character, Hilliard. The plot marches at a sedate, heavy pace towards its inevitable, and predictable conclusion, stopping off along the way to reveal set pieces of battle and bloody demise to the reader. A rather depressing and leaden novel, it perhaps does not deserve the reputation it has gained in the nearly thirty years since publication.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By I. Vorde on June 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
The book is brief, yet the author has crafted it so that every detail counts. Characters are described in depth with precise strokes, but the story never loses rythm. Susan Hill succeeds in conveying the collective miseries of war as well as the intimate tragedy of John Hilliard, a shy young Englishman that does not seem to find his place in life. Isolated from a cold family that is uncapable of providing the love he needs to cope with the horrors he has to face in his life at the front during World War I, Hilliard unexpectedly learns to look at life from a different perspective when he overcomes his reluctance to socialize and forges a deep friendship with an extraverted fellow officer. War is omnipresent in the whole story and takes its heavy toll on the characters. However, a light of hope remains in the (up to a certain extent)open ending. In a few words, the classic tragedy of youth cut short by the nonsense of war skilfully told from an intimate perspective.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I lost this book when someone lent it to me: was grateful for finding another copy and being able to honour my borrowing. It is certainly a very good read and well worth it. Prompt service much appreciated. (so I guess it is less than a review of the book and more of a nod to Amazon and book owners). If you want a book review: all I can say, what a good author and what an insight in to war times!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A true classic, about to read it for the third time over a 30 year period! Planning to lend it afterward to some of my fellow kindle owners.
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Format: Paperback
I have been haunted by Wilfred Owen's poem `Strange Meeting' ever since I first heard it as set to music in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem.

I have also been interested in Susan Hill since I head her `In the Springtime of the Year' about sudden death.

We met to discuss this book in a city centre pub and many of out members, in their twenties, had never really thought about the Great War and found this book intensely moving and well-written.

The author is good at scene-setting: where it becomes easier to sleep in the trenches than at home, the nightmares, shooting ism a skill but the bayonet is hated, the rotten trench smell, the orchard spoiled by the burned body of a pilot, men have `feelings', letters waiting to be censored, singing on the way to the trenches but meeting a dispirited group coming in the opposite direction, Garret says that reconnaissance is a pointless strategy and a criminal waste of men but he is overruled, jokes among the men became childish or obscene as life became more tedious, Hilliard on a boat full of wounded men.

We see the fabled ineptness of management - people slept in a field as too many men were sent to same place. Half the men were lost because they hadn't had an order telling them that the second push was cancelled. Half the artillery blew themselves up with their own guns because somebody hadn't attended to them properly.

Superstitions and folklore about: `Well be home before Christmas." "You've had your wound now so you're not due for another."

We get to compare family backgrounds. Hilliard's: the owl's bones kept in a drawer, his mother wants to come with him to station, his amputated left leg.
Barton's: Hilliard said he wouldn't mind a shilling for every letter Barton had written.
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