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Birdsong: A Novel of Love and War Paperback – June 2, 1997
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Mass Market Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
It begins with an offbeat love story - no mush - that is captivating even for one who doesn't read romance novels.
When the war scenes begin, you are initially upset that the romance portion has ended. But this is the heart of the book. To give too many details would be a disservice to potential readers. I can say, however, that the graphic descriptions of bunker life have you wondering just how much the human mind and body can endure.
The characters are very real and you certainly feel, while reading, that you are indeed Stephen Wraysford, the central character.
You feel pleasure, joy, horror and revolt as surely as if you were within the pages. At one point, I felt the physical sensation of touch, as Stephen was experiencing a particularly wrenching moment.
When this book is over, you are upset. You want it to last longer. You never want it to end!
This is an important and brilliant novel. Truly a masterpiece. Those to whom I have recommended this book have all started with a skepticism. Surely I was raving. Each has thanked me and echoed my enthusiasm.
To sum up the entire book in 2 words I would proclaim loud and strong "READ THIS!"
Mr. Faulks' writing is so intimate that I was almost embarrased during the love scenes as if I had intruded upon the lovers in their throws of passion. The bitter sweet moments of love found and love lost are feelings that reverberate through time. They were as agonizing to read as if I was experiencing them myself. As the story moves forward and Stephan is at front lines of WWI, I was again amazed at the detail of the story. I can scarce believe that Mr. Faulks was not the actually Stephen Wraysford in a previous life. His vivid depiction of the horrors of war are troubling yet poignont. The friendships among the men, the shared commonality of their situation, the reality of death and the difficulty they had expressing ANY emotion was painful to read. You want to reach out to them and rescue them from the danger of death - and equally so from the agony of life.
Now - flash forward to the 1970s as the generation who experienced the trenches are dying off. A young woman - about my age - with as little knowledge of the war as I previously had - seeks information about her grandfather. Her quest leads her to uncover a family secret, a forgotten generation, a personal desire for true love, and the knowledge that life goes on. 1917, 1978 or 2005 - Sebastian Faulks shows that we all desire love, we all struggle to cope with our personal demons, and we all wonder what we will leave the world to remember us by. This book may be set in the past - but it is truly timeless in its message.
Simply a great book and modern classic that will make one want to read more of Faulks and of The Great War itself.
The story begins in Amiens, with the main character Steven Wraysford being drawn into a passionate and steamy love affair with the wife of his landlord. This erotic but doomed relationship gives way to the second part of the novel - Steven in the trenches in WW1 - the Great (or Not So Great)War. The account of war is harrowing and yet mesmerising, and I found myself simultaneously horrified by the gritty and stark imagery,and moved to tears by the spare and lucid prose. The third part of the novel describes Steven's grandaughter, Elizabeth, on her quest to find out more about her grandfather's life.
Many reviewers have commented that they found the third part meaningless and irrelevent. I myself cannot agree. I think the very fact that one generation removed, a close family member knew absolutely nothing about the turn of events, is what brought home the truth of the entire novel to me. I had no idea of what went on in WW1 and this book changed my view of history. I knew that people died, but the horror and sheer waste on such a stupendous scale, the unbelievable meaninglessness of it all, and the fact that it did nothing to stop events just 20 years later, still leaves me speechless. I felt every emotion of Elizabeth's as she stood in that field so many years later, and realised how very little the world knew, or remembered.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Among my top five favorite novels along with Morrison's Beloved, Egan's Look at Me, Atwood's Cat's Eye, and Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude.Published 12 days ago by angecan
A little hard to get into, but once I finally did, it was a great read!Published 16 days ago by Barb
Beautifully written. A stunningly realistic novel. I could not stop reading this book.Published 23 days ago by Lise
I guess the American news didn't quite make the impact when reporting what was going on during the war in the 90's. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Loyd Brightwell
Very little love, lots and lots of war. Injuries in graffic detail over and over again.Published 1 month ago by Wpatter
The dominant part of the novel is on WWI trench war fare. There are some interesting relationships and complex characters. I did not appreciate the flash forward to the 1970s.Published 1 month ago by William
It held my interest from beginning to end. Thoroughly captivating!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer