Birdsong

“No child or future generation will ever know what this was like.They will never understand. When it is over we will go quietly among the living and we will not tell them. We will talk and sleep and go abut our business like human beings. We will seal what we have seen in the silence of our hearts and no words will reach us.”

Worth reading? Yes.

Is it a favorite? No.

First review, here we go!

I look back on how long ago this book was lent to me, and I wonder why in the world it took me so long to finish it. At 482 pages in length I wouldn’t consider this a “quick read”, but it certainly shouldn’t have taken me the nearly two weeks that it did in order to finish it. Ultimately I think this was probably because of the graphic nature of a large portion of the plot. I can’t say this makes it less enjoyable, just more arduous.

The book begins by telling the story of Stephen Wraysford prior to WWI when he was working in France. A love story develops between Wraysford and his boss’s wife, Isabelle. I hesitate to reveal more about that storyline but to stay that Wraysford eventually heads offfor WWI. This is the bulk of the story and Faulks does a stunning job making the reader wince while pulling at their heartstrings describing the brutal scenes of war. There was one particularnail bitter when Stephen is trapped in an underground mine that has collapsed.

Spun between the chapters of Stephen’s life before and after the war is the story of his grand daughter, Elizabeth. Her story is set primarily in England in 1979. Not a big fan of her storyline.

I enjoyed the plot and connected with the characters, but something was missing for me in this novel. I’m not exactly sure why this isn’t a favorite for me, nothing really sticks out as a turn off. I did feel that the constant switching between past and present was a tad annoying. While Elizabeth’s story is interesting in its own right, I do not feel that it contributed much to the reader’s understanding of Stephen. Overall I did I enjoy reading the book, even though the plot might not always have interested me. I was most impressed by the incredibly realistic writing style of Faulks. On a funny side note, have you ever lent a book to someone and felt like you had to give a disclaimer because of an underlying theme? To be completely frank there are some fairly graphic scenes involving sex or violence in this novel…just keep this in mind. I suggested to my aunt that she read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and became slightly embarrassed afterward when talking to her about some of the plot points…am I alone in this sense of responsibility?

On a funny side note, have you ever lent a book to someone and felt like you had to give a disclaimer because of an underlying theme? To be completely frank there are some fairly graphic scenes involving sex or violence in this novel…just keep this in mind. I suggested to my aunt that she read Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and became slightly embarrassed afterward when talking to her about some of the plot points…am I alone in this sense of responsibility?

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2 Responses to Birdsong

  1. Welcome to book blogging, Katie! I hope you are able to keep this one going. The book blogging community is really great, so it’s a good one to be as part of.

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