Birdsong

Front Cover
Vintage, 1994 - Fiction - 407 pages
In 1910 a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford, goes to Picardy, France, to learn the textile business. While there he plunges into a love affair with the young wife of his host, a passion so imperative and consuming that it changes him forever. Several years later, with the outbreak of World War I, he finds himself again in the fields of Picardy, this time as a soldier on the Western Front. A strange, occasionally bitter man, Stephen is possessed of an inexplicable will to survive. He struggles through the hideously bloody battles of the Marne, Verdun, and the Somme (in the last named, thirty thousand British soldiers were killed in the first half hour alone), camps for weeks at a time in the verminous trenches, and hunkers in underground tunnels as he watches many of the companions he has grown to love perish. In spite of everything, Stephen manages to find hope and meaning in the blasted world he inhabits.

Sixty years after war's end, his granddaughter discovers, and keeps, Stephen's promise to a dying man. Sebastian Faulks brings the anguish of love and war to vivid life, and leaves the reader's mind pulsating with images that are graphic and unforgettable.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bcrowl399 - LibraryThing

I was expecting a little more from this book based on the reviews I'd read. It was well written, poignant, captivating. However there were times when the details were skimmed over and other places ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Clara53 - LibraryThing

An epic tumultuous saga, starting from 1910 to 1918, and then jumping to 1978-79, a follow up of sorts. 1910, France - an ardent and brief love affair (which didn't particularly grab my heart, like I ... Read full review

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About the author (1994)

His first novel, A Trick of Light, was published in 1984. By this time he had become a feature writer on the Sunday Telegraph and in 1986 moved to the new national daily paper the Independent as its literary editor. His second novel, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, was published in 1989. In 1991 he gave up journalism to concentrate on writing. In 1992 his third novel, A Fool's Alphabet, was published in London, and in 1993 he published Birdsong to huge critical acclaim. It has so far sold more than 400,000 copies in Britain. In January 1997 a television and bookshop poll among British readers placed it in their top fifty books of the century. He was named Author of the Year in the British Book Awards of 1995. He has since published a nonfiction book, The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives, which was also a bestseller, and is nearing the end of a new novel. He married in 1989, and he and his wife have three small children. They spent 1996 in France but are now back in London.

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