- File Size: 1750 KB
- Print Length: 337 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: H. C. Turk; 1 edition (January 8, 2009)
- Publication Date: January 8, 2009
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B001P80FCE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,970,415 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Only The Impassioned Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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Turk begins his novel in Germany near the end of the WW II and he describes that crumbled zone of destruction both of place and spirit beautifully through the eyes of one Andrew Bower, an American soldier, who `felt the failure of leaving a shabby life for a tour of hell. Like a bad deal at a car lot, trading a clunker for a bomb': `Even after days, he hadn't been able to get that mud out of his cavities. Dirt doesn't get much more intimate than when it grinds your teeth down. But that intimate filth seemed so much cleaner than the blood of the sergeant splattered against him as they lay in a shallow foxhole in France, a 300 year old village famed for grape preserves whose farmland was a tangle of dormant vines holding bodies of young men as the Messerschmidts and Mustangs coughed and scrambled above for dominance of the dead.' This is the flavor rendered in the first four chapters, a time when Bower's experiences reality and the curtain of ugly and brutal results of war, attempting to discern the dualities of life and death, sensation and anesthesia, war horrors and natural beauty.
Things change when Bower visits a Nazi death camp, now deserted save for a `great experiment' Jew buried up to his chin in concrete, his wife Annelisa by his side. Bower relieves the man of his misery by shooting him and later when Bower himself is severely wounded and rescued he escapes to a neighboring country called Ilysia where he once again meets Annelisa as well as a family who befriends him. This new association rising out of a war that makes no sense brings a series of surrealistic and metaphysical moments that are at times profoundly touching and at other times painfully hilarious! At this point the novel blooms like a symphony or a tone poem that constantly shifts tonalities and diversions: it is as though Turk is rhapsodizing on whether life as we live it is what 'life' really is or is this space in time only part of a greater near meaningless view of what happens when atoms unite to create genes to create man.
There are many ways to read this novel, and this reader, while deeply satisfied with the experience is still unclear as to what it all means, THAT is a marker of a great novel - and I think this is one! To be read again - perhaps several more times. Grady Harp, August 12
Only the Impassioned by H.C. Turk is all these things. It's often beautiful, it's impassioned, and it's tough to follow. The story revolves around twenty-two-year-old Andrew Bower, a draftee in Germany at the end of the war. The first four chapters detail Germany at the end of the war, rendered brilliantly but also at times surrealistically as if Francis Ford Coppola had outtakes of Apocalypse Now from 1945. Our hero is merely trying to survive while everything falls apart. He's "Bower" the first four chapters and mostly "Andrew" for the rest of the novel after he's shot in the chest and tries to recover.
The book starts out on a train: "In a stolen train, eleven men rode to the end of the war. Confiscated by Allied forces, which had penetrated deeply into Germany by April of 1945, the Brechtesmeister passenger train was a string of six cars pulled by a quiet diesel, the sparkless engine an invention of a German mind, the same as the classical symphony and the Third Reich." The polar opposites of the last sentence, German philosopher Georg Hegel might appreciate. The novel is built in such dualities: life and death, feeling and not feeling, war horrors and natural beauty, and more.
There's also a back and forth between long scenes heavy with dialogue as the soldiers try to make sense of it all, contrasted with intense action. Andrew enters a liberated death camp where he puts out of his misery a Jew who had been encased in concrete up to his neck, with the man's wife, Annelisa, at his side. This is contrasted, in flashback, of Andrew's horrible father who seemed to try to kill him when Andrew was younger.
Once Andrew is shot and realizes he can die, he's just trying to figure out if he's alive or dead. So is the reader. Lyrical sections abound, such as the first long italicized one where, "Bower felt that he could see forever, for he viewed sky and foliage and buildings, but no strafing planes, no thudding mortars, no blasting artillery, no soldiers and the raucous, recoiling firearms." The reader, in essence, just has to go with the flow. Otherwise it'll become frustrating.
Andrew is nursed by Annelisa, and she takes him to her country of Ilysia, where her father is a Duke. Andrew must get to a hospital if he's to survive. His time in Ilysia takes up much of the rest of the novel. To tell you more might diminish it, though you can read into Ilysia, "Elysian Fields." The novel is unusual--a high quotient of symbolism and surrealism. Think of a tone poem with exposition and some action. If you give it patience, you will leave with the sense that life is a dialectic.