Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day Reads

It occurred to me this morning that I have recommended quite a few books about war - either ones set during a war or reflecting on its aftermath. Today being Remembrance Day, it seemed appropriate to do a round-up of those titles.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato-Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: Set in post-WWII London and the isle of Guernsey.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Set in New York after the First World War.
Requiem for a Wren by Nevil Shute: Set in post-WWII Australia, with flash-backs to the war in Europe.
Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden: Set partly in Ontario just after the First World War, with the majority of the narrative taking place during the battles of the war's battles in Belgium and France.
The Birth House by Ami McKay: Set in rural Nova Scotia during the First World War.
Going Solo by Roald Dahl: Tells the story of Dahl's experience as an RAF pilot in North Africa and Mediterranean Europe during the Second World War.
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute: Set in Malaysia during the Second World War and in Australia and England several years later.

I had never realized how many of these books were set post-war and then looked back at it. I suppose that for authors writing about it now, that's their experience of the war. So even when flash-backs and memory sequences are set in the present, it's always through the lens that the soldier in question knows the outcome of their own story. I'm not sure if this says anything concrete about our ability to understand war through literature, but it is interesting.

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