Friday, April 17, 2009
I was about to say that I was NOT swayed by others when it comes to books, but that isn't true. I have read many of Michael Dirda's books in the hope of discovering someone I had never heard of before, nor read. Through Dirda I found Dawn Powell and countless others. But I was surprised to hear R L Stine on the radio recently talk about the author Sebastian Barry's book A Long Long Way.
My grandfather had served in World War I, and while I never met him (he died seven years before I was born), his memory and his service in France is part of the family lore. So, I promptly got a copy of Barry's book on Amazon for $1.99 and have been slowly reading it since. It's a beautifully written and simply awful book. "Simply awful" in the vivid descriptions of the horrors of the trenches and the brutality of war. It's a stunning book. I absolutely recommend it. But it's not a fast read, it's too painful for that. If you absorb it, you can't help but put it down and wince at the imagery and senselessness of it all.