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Their Finest Hour and a Half

4.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Lissa Evans] displays a fine eye for detail and for the absurdities involved in filming. She also brilliantly evokes the disruption and dangers of wartime London. This funny, heart-warming and beautifully crafted novel is a must-read" Daily Mail "Beautifully written, minutely observed and researched, evocative and very funny tale" -- Michele Hanson Guardian "Comic, poignant and altogether delightful, raised spirits are guaranteed" Easy Living "This is a comic novel, but far warmer in tone and broader in scope than that label would suggest...Gloriously observed...Hilliard is a wonderful creation - and Evans's recreated propaganda scripts are a total joy. Delicious" The Times "Pitch-perfect in tone and populated by some unforgettable characters, Lissa Evans's blackly comic new novel is a delight" The Gloss Magazine --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Lissa Evans has written books for both adults and children, including Their Finest Hour and a Half, longlisted for the Orange Prize, Small Change for Stuart, shortlisted for many awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Book Awards and Crooked Heart, longlisted for the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: ISIS Audio Books (July 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0753144123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0753144121
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 19, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I so loved Lissa Evans' recent novel CROOKED HEART, about a precocious boy and crafty woman making common cause in the London Blitz, that I immediately ordered this earlier book, set in the same period. Besides, I was tickled by the title and its cheeky rewriting of Churchill's famous phrase about the Battle of Britain heroes. Only it is not so cheeky as it sounds, for Evans' subject is the making of a patriotic movie about Dunkirk, and ninety minutes in those days was the standard running time.

Evans credits Norman Longmate's HOW WE LIVED THEN for sparking her interest in the home front in WW2. But she has clearly absorbed a lot of novels, movies, and magazines of the period, for she has got the language and stock types down pat. It is the same seam that Kate Atkinson mined in LIFE AFTER LIFE, the popular literature of my own childhood. Evans has just about as many plot shifts and rapid gear changes as Atkinson, but she uses them for comedy. This is, after all, the world of make-believe: advertising, propaganda, entertainment, what's the difference? And just about anyone can come along and stick their oar in. So the story of two twin girls who stole their father's boat to assist in the rescue at Dunkirk gets made whether the basic facts are true or not.
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Format: Paperback
Christine

Would've thought wartime London, despite daily bombings and innumerable tragedies, large scale and small, could provide such amusement? Catrin, seconded to the Ministry of Information (dis-information?), increasingly realises messages are lost if they don't entertain. Then there is Dunkirk .. how can such disaster entertain? Lissa Evans convinces us that this IS what it was like ... even if, like her film of the Starling sisters' heroic deeds at Dunkirk, it bears little relation to a 'real life' account. There is a deeper truth in their daring, Catrin realises, just as the film reveals and reflects wider truths of the war situation. Evan's characters, dialogue, and recreated adverts and propaganda scripts are convincing, touching, funny and sad in turn..from witty hoot to heart wrench at the sound of a siren.
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Another late discovery. I don't know how I missed it, especially since I am a historian of propaganda myself. It is a very funny treatment of the making of official war propaganda films at the time of the Dunkirk debacle in 1941, a kind of comedic Snow Goose. However, it also provides some fascinating insights into London during the blitz.
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Great picture of life going on during the Blitz A gifted storyteller with wry observational skills. Most recommended!
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Excellent author, well written story with WWII background
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