Wednesday, August 16, 2006
A Very Long Engagement - Sebastien Japrisot [August/06]
I have always had a big interest in the two world wars from a historical point of view. That being said, I like to read novels that are set during either World War I or World War II.
From the back:
Set during and after the First World War, AVERY LONG ENGAGEMENT tells the story of a young woman's search for her fiance, whom she believes might still be alive despite having offically been reported as "killed in the line of duty." Unable to walk since childhood, fearless Mathilde Donnay is undeterred in her quest as she scours the country for information about five wounded French soldiers who were butually abandoned by their own troops. A VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT is a mystery, a love story, and an extraordinary portrait of life in France before and after the War.
This was a very wonderful read, let me tell you. I like certain periods in history. I enjoy reading Canadian history in its entirety because that's where I live. The other things I enjoy are novels about Troy, Arthurian legends, the World Wars, and the surrounding time periods. Other things are enjoyable as well, but these things are the things that will make the books something I have to try. Other time periods I am more particular about. So, when I saw this book mentioned on a blog at one point and time, I added it to my to read list and it came up the other day when I was ordering from Amazon. I got it in the mail, sat down and read it, and I thought it was very well written.
If you haven't noticed, not a major reader of romance novels. So, I admit this was an iffy read because at its core, it is a romance novel. But it has so many other things going on that I could not help enjoying it. For starters, to think that men were executed during the war for not wanting to fight. It is rather depressing, these men shot themselves so that they would be sent home. They were considered cowards, but I don't really think they were. They shot off their arms, that is rather brave when you think about it. Can we really judge people that do not want to take lives. Look at all the lasting effects war has on people, to see all that slaughter. You really have to question whether or not war is worth it. To these men, some of them would rather not be able to write again than stay on the fields. And this really happened, too. That's the sad thing, the actual people may not be real, but the reality is.
Mathilde is an interesting character. The war has been over for several years and there she is still trying to find out what happened to her fiance. Many people try and prevent her from learning the truth, but she has the determination to learn the truth. She is not easily distracted, and actually brings hope to the other women that lost their husbands on that fateless day. Five men were let out into enemy lines to be shot by the enemy. Seems to me the method they chose to execute them was more cowardly than the actual act. It is a novel that will have you trying to solve the mystery of whether her finance died or not and at the same time, it makes you think about the consequences of war.
Has anyone seen the movie? I was wondering if it was worth watching.