Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

“Birdsong” is a novel about the tenderness and the limits of human flesh, it is about men and women living at the edge. Set mostly in France spanning the years before and during the First World War, it captures the drama and destruction of that era as it tells the story of Stephen, a young Englishman who is impelled through a series of extreme experiences, from a traumatic clandestine love affair which rips apart the bourgeois French family he lives with, through grim insanity of the Great War. In the vast scenes of suffering and the tender depiction of human love, “Birdsong” is at times almost unbearably moving to read.

Synopsis taken from Blackwells website.

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1 Comment

  1. michelebbc

     /  June 21, 2010

    I read this some time ago and remembered it as being a book I didn’t particularly enjoy. This time I found it much more involving and moving. I found the initial chapters describing the love affair a little unconvincing but thought they worked well in grounding Stephen’s character in a more ‘normal’ environment. The part of the story set in the 70s felt a little tacked on, and I did read somewhere that this was the case.
    Strangly the part of the story that moved me most was the discovery that Isabelle had died prematurely of flu, almost as if the relentless descriptions of death in the trenches had made them lose any meaning – a reflection of the reality of the life there.


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