Archives for war fiction

Book review: Double Vision

This is different from a lot of the war fiction by Pat Barker in that it deals with the aftermath of war rather than life during war. Double Vision is set in Barker’s NE England, with both countryside and city drawn clearly. War reporter Stephen Sharkey returns to the NE to stay in his brother’s isolated holiday cottage, he has resigned his job and plans to write a book. It seems idyllic, peaceful, but his dreams are full of war memories, particularly the body of a girl discovered in a Sarajevo ruin, raped and murdered. Kate Frobisher, widow of Sharkey’s war photographer colleague Ben, is a sculptor. She is struggling too, with being alone, and with injuries sustained in a car accident. Kate’s progress with the sculpture of a man, with the deadline looming, forms the spine of this novel. This is not a love story in that there is no romance but it is a story about the love of family, of community, of responsibility. And it is also about the opposite of love: hate, as done to the girl in that Sarajevo ruin. The horrors that man does to man, in wartime and ordinary time, and whether forgiveness
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Categories: Book Love.

My Top 5… World War Two novels

This was an impossible list to write. My childhood was filled with World War Two novels and films, plus lots of cowboy and westerns too, thanks to my father. So this list combines childhood favourites with literature discovered in later years. ‘Sophie’s Choice’ by William Styron Who can forget the book, or that scene in the 1982 film. Sophie’s Choice: the phrase now commonly known to mean ‘an impossible choice’. Buy now ‘Where Eagles Dare’ by Alistair MacLean The 1968 film: Clint Eastwood, Richard Burton, need I say more? I gobbled Alistair MacLean’s books as a child; cheap paperbacks bought by my father and read by us all. Old-fashioned now, but still great page-turners. Buy now ‘Schindler’s Ark’ by Thomas Keneally I bought this one in July 1983 after it won the 1982 Booker Prize. In 1993 it was made into the film Schindler’s List starring Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler, Ben Kingsley as Itzhak Stern and a young Ralph Fiennes as the terrifying Amon Goeth. Buy now ‘Fortunes of War 1-3’ [The Balkan Trilogy] by Olivia Manning Guy and Harriet Pringle [aka a very young Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thomspon, then married in real life, in the 1987 BBC
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.