In This Unique And Compelling Anthology, Sebastian Faulks Has Collected The Best Fiction About War In The 20th Century Ranging From The First World War To The Gulf War, These Stories Depict A Soldier S Experience From Call Ups Battle And Comradship To Leave, Hospital And Trauma In Later Life Truely International In Scope, This Anthology Includes Stories By Erich Maria Remarque And Pat Barker, Issac Babel And Ernest Hemingway , Heinrich Boll And Norman Mailer, JG Ballard And Tim O Brian Julian Barnes And Louis De Barnieres Together They Form A Powerful And Moving Evocation Of The Horors Of War. A large selection of authors are represented in this anthology, which covers most of the major conflicts of the 20th century While the standard of writing is uniformly good, the reading experience is ultimately spoiled by the fact that the majority of the pieces are excerpts from novels rather than self contained short stories This makes a few of the pieces in particular very difficult to understand While the moral point of the majority of the pieces is anti war, the style of writing chosen for this book is mostly conventional It would have been interesting to have a couple of experimental pieces to give some variation. Based on the subject matter, these stories are obviously going to be sad and mournful to read Still they are good stories in themselves Just maybe don t sit down to read the whole book from back to front in one go I d say it s better to read a few at a time, just because there are a lot of them all based on the same theme war There are extracts from some quite well known novels. A series of extracts from war novels, by and large focussing on the futility and horror of war It is an odd book, i wouldnt have bought it if it wasn t in a charity shop, as i d prefer to read an entire novel, it was unfulfilling somehow, almost as though i hadnt read a full book at all. As a fan of war stories, many of the fragments included in this book were to my liking I m a fan of them because they attempt to tell the untellable, and each author does it differently some can make it real, others become mired in clich s However, though stories from different sides of the conflicts were included in this anthology, it still felt very American oriented to me The editors felt compelled to include classics like The Naked and the Dead and A Farewell to Arms, but left out For Whom the Bell Tolls and Slaughterhouse Five, instead choosing a commentary upon it by Vonnegut which I did like, but which seemed jarring considering its position between the fragments of fiction Overall I thought the view it presented was fairly fragmented, as it tried to incorporate many different views but overstretched itself doing so Some fragments worked well out of context but certainly not all some were very technical and some were very romantic In my opinion this book should have been thicker and either have included fragments from all the famous books about wars in the twentieth century so also For Whom the Bell Tolls, Goodbye to All That, The Diary of Anne Frank or purposely have stuck to the lesser known ones in order to get a view of the wars from unexpected and non Allied perspectives The editors have chosen not to include a lot of lightly fictionalised autobiography would that they had, for those narratives are most compelling and so many of the fragments are based on the author s own experience anyway that the distinction between fiction and non fiction is moot As Tim O Brien states in his fragment In many cases a true war story cannot be believed.In other cases you can t even tell a true war story Sometimes it s just beyond telling. Faulks and Hensgen have done an amazing job They have compiled short stories and passages from book that can provide one with insights about large chunks of what war is like The book does not offer a comprehensive view, and does not aim at that The main emphasis is on the experience of combatants and people participating directly in the drafting, the reporting, the decision making, human experiments, and the killing The pieces are almost all outstanding both from a stylistic point of view brilliant command of language, of literary tools and from a psychological, historical point of view as well.I can only recommend this volume It can enrich the understanding of any person It can serve one of the greatest goals of literature to make people aware of the real life complexity of situations, and of undermining rosy narratives and stupid, glorifying views of war fabricated by states and corporations. I had started reading this book and its various excerpts some time ago, so I decided to go back for a second read of some material and a fresh look at others.It was enjoyable, but having read so many factual auto biographical works on war, it just doesn t have the same resonance for me Remarque s How Long it Takes for a Man to Die was probably the highlight of the writing, an excerpt from All Quiet on the Western Front , something I would now very much like to read.All in all, varied and interesting, but give me the factual accounts every time. This is certainly one of the best collections of wartime stories I have read so far, and there s been quite a few Consisting of tales written by the famed and not so famed of world literature, the book captures the many faces of war bloody battlefields, broken families, broken hearts, undaunted spirits, and sheer will The anthology spans major wars fought in the twentieth century, and at the end, one can t help but be struck by the immense similarity among them all A must read for all those who love history and share a morbid fascination for turbulent times. Contains some amazing writing some of my favorite authors as well William Boyd, Louis De Bernieres, Pat Barker, Siegfried Sassoon, John Fowles, Michael Ondaatje, and Ernest Hemingway Discovered some new favorites too particularly Tim O Brien How to tell a True War Story Anthology of stories written about various 20th century conflicts This was a bit strange in some respects because they were extracts from novels rather than short stories I enjoyed it to a certain degree but some of the tales seemed to be just about starting to get going when they ended. I tried, but after the first few stories I was overwhelmed by the horror snd despair portrayed so I didn t finish the book.
- 416 pages
- The Vintage Book of War Stories
- Sebastian Faulks
- 14 October 2018 Sebastian Faulks