Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

I read a book!!! OK, I read lots of books but this is the first adult fiction I've read in 12 months! It was bought for me as a present ages ago, I started it but didn't really get into at first and left it for 12 months. We went to a Festival last weekend and I needed something to take with me to read when I needed a break from manicness, so I took Birdsong. What happened was that I read the book and entered Festiworld as means of a break from the book.....IYSWIM. Basically, I couldn't put it down.

This has to be one of the most powerful books I've read to date. It starts in 1910 but most of the story centres around World War I. Faulks very vividly depicts what life was like in and under the trenches. The passages which take place underground were so convincingly written that I kept having to go outside to read them to avoid feeling claustrophobic! Faulks uses some amazingly beautiful metaphors to describe great tragedy while the scenes of trench life are distressingly well drawn. It was such an emotional experience reading this novel that, even though I finished it 2 days ago, the characters still seem very much alive in my mind. In fact, when I closed the last page, I just sat and hugged the book for ages looking at the blue sky and loving the world we live in today. (Corny, but true!). I'm not sure how perfectly accurate it is, but the story has given me a greater appreciation of the sacrifices made by all those men, as well as making me realise how hard it must have been for the French population. I've not really looked at World War I with my kids yet, and don't intend to for quite some time but Birdsong has certainly provided me with a bit more background info.
All in all, it suddenly makes sense why we have so many war memorials and why 'Lest We Forget' is written on them. Lest we forget that war is truly horrific and no matter who wins, everyone loses.

Recommended reading for all adults - definitely not for children.

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