Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A few days ago, I finished A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin.

I'm a huge, huge fan of another Helprin book, A Winter's Tale. While A Soldier of the Great War doesn't live up to that standard, it is still a good, and enjoyable book.

It starts off in the present day, as a worker misses his bus and an old man gets off in sympathy and they decide to walk to their destinations, even though they are few days walk away. Along the way, the old man reluctantly starts talking about his life and his service during WW1. The story ranges from his early romances/crushes in Rome, to service in the trenches, to desertion and almost execution and then service in the Alps.

The scenes set in pre-war Italy feel like typical fin de si├Ęcle portraits of the time, the war is stereotypically horrible and stupid, so there aren't any real surprises here - just a well told story.

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