les Davey de France

Alan and Pat live and work in Bordeaux. Alan is a pastor and Pat was a nurse. Now we work with UFM worldwide. Read on! (If you'd like to know what took us to Bordeaux, then start with the archives from September 2004)

Monday, December 01, 2014

Book review : A Soldier of the Great War, by Mark Helprin

I don't review every book I read, but I wanted to review this book because it is such a GREAT book. I read about it on the Gospel Coalition website and the description there encouraged me to buy it and read it.

Essentially it's the story of a walk from the outskirts of Rome to a village outside the city, where an old man accompanies a young man and recounts his experiences in the Great War.

The prose is just wonderful. Simple, evocative, pure, beautiful.

The story is heart-rending and healing all in one. Terrible events are depicted with a simplicity and a beauty that somehow doesn't clash. Desperate suffering and grief live alongside heroic courage and faith. Friendship, love, loyalty and justice. Some parts make you want to weep. Some parts make you laugh out loud.

You need to know that there's not much of life that isn't depicted. Adult subjects are discussed. Terrible cruelty, savagery and barbarity. I suppose the book could have omitted these aspects of the life of a young soldier. I don't want you to read the book without knowing about that.

Ì have other books to read now, but I'll be looking for another Mark Helprin soon, and one day I'll reread A Solider of the Great War.

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