Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land, Sebastian Faulks creates a world of fiction that is as tragic as A Farewell to Arms and as sensuous as The English Patient. Crafted from the ruins of war and the indestructibility of love, Birdsong is a novel that will be read and marveled at for years to come.
In 1910, England's Stephen Wraysford, a junior executive in a textile firm, is sent by his company to northern France. There he falls for Isabelle Azaire, a young and beautiful matron who abandons her abusive husband and sticks by Stephen long enough to conceive a child. Six years later, Stephen is back in France, as a British officer fighting in the trenches. Facing death, embittered by isolation, he steels himself against thoughts of love. But despite rampant disease, harrowing tunnel explosions and desperate attacks on highly fortified German positions, he manages to survive, and to meet with Isabelle again. The emotions roiled up by this meeting, however, threaten to ruin him as a soldier. Everything about this novel, which was a bestseller in England, is outsized, from its epic, if occasionally ramshackle, narrative to its gruesome and utterly convincing descriptions of battlefield horrors. Faulks (A Fool's Alphabet) proves himself a grand storyteller here. Enlivened with considerable historical detail related through accomplished prose, his narrative flows with a pleasingly appropriate recklessness that brings his characters to dynamic life.
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A book you will never forget.
Haunting. Very well written. I'm not usually a history fan, but this book reads easily and the story is superbly told.
I just finished the print version of this book and I am heartbroken that it has come to an end. Birdsong is the best book I've read in a long time. It's devastating, gruesome, and a beautiful picture of all types of love and life during wartime. This has moved me in a way I cannot explain. I would recommend this book to anyone.
A wonderfully strong depiction of the war, it really pictured much of the hard times, pain, fear, and anguish the soldiers went through for 4 long years. I was in tears many times as i read about the death and pain they saw and felt and how these brave men never recovered after the war. A great novel