By Jean Echenoz
5 Frenchmen burst off to battle, of them forsaking a undeniable younger lady who longs for his or her go back. however the major personality in 1914 is the nice struggle itself. Jean Echenoz, the multi–award–winning French literary magician whose paintings has been in comparison to Joseph Conrad and Lawrence Sterne, has introduced that deathtrap again to existence, prime us lightly from a balmy summer time day deep into the insatiable—and nonetheless unthinkable—carnage of trench warfare.
With the delicacy of a miniaturist and with irony either witty and clear–eyed, the writer bargains us an intimate epic with the ambience of a vintage motion picture: within the landscape of a transparent blue sky, a biplane spirals all at once into the floor; a tardy piece of shrapnel shears the head off a man's head as though it have been a soft–boiled egg; we dawdle dreamily in a spring–scented clearing with a lonely shell–shocked soldier walking innocently to a firing squad able to shoot him for desertion.
But eventually, the grace notes of humanity in 1914 upward thrust above the terrors of struggle during this fantastically crafted story that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.
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Additional resources for 1914 (UK Edition)
Ay, the more I think on it the better I like it! It is worth all the expense. When does she go? indd 37 6/10/09 2:20:51 PM Georgette Heyer daresay – she could travel with Arabella. ’ Mrs Tallant sighed. ‘My dear sir, the cost of posting is too great to be even thought of ! ’ The Squire began to look very thoughtful. ‘Well, that won’t do,’ he said presently. ‘No, no, we can’t have that! Driving up to your grand friend’s house in a hackney! We shall have to contrive a little, Sophia. ’ He sat staring into the fire for some minutes, while his sisterin-law pensively gazed out of the window, and tried not to let her mind dwell on what her sensitive husband’s feelings must be, could he but have had the least idea of what she was doing.
Sit in that horrid, draughty carriage all that time? ’ she declared. ’ said Miss Blackburn. ‘Of course we cannot! Either way I am persuaded you would catch your death! There must be a house hereabouts which would lend us shelter! ’ They plainly shone from the windows of a residence set a little back from the road. The groom volunteered the information that he had noticed some lodge gates a few steps back. ’ said Arabella briskly. indd 53 6/10/09 2:20:55 PM Georgette Heyer Miss Blackburn, a timorous soul, protested feebly.
And all those rolls and puffs over the ears! How could Mama have had the patience to do it? So odd as it must have looked, too! But Mama, turning over half-forgotten dresses, grew quite sentimental, remembering that she had been wearing this very gown of green Italian taffeta, over a petticoat of satin, soupir d’étouffe (unaccountably missing), when she had first met Papa; remembering the pretty compliment paid to her by that rejected baronet when he had seen her in the white silk waist Sophia was holding up (it had had a book-muslin train, and there should be somewhere a pink silk coat, very smart, which she had worn with it); remembering how shocked her Mama had been when she had seen that rose-coloured Indian muslin underwear which Eliza – your Aunt Eliza, my loves – had brought her from London.
1914 (UK Edition) by Jean Echenoz