By Jean Echenoz
5 Frenchmen burst off to struggle, of them forsaking a undeniable younger lady who longs for his or her go back. however the major personality in 1914 is the good 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 lifestyles, major 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 deals us an intimate epic with the ambience of a vintage motion picture: within the landscape of a transparent blue sky, a biplane spirals abruptly into the floor; a tardy piece of shrapnel shears the pinnacle 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 finally, the grace notes of humanity in 1914 upward push above the terrors of warfare during this superbly crafted story that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.
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Extra info for 1914 (UK Edition)
He cried. “A chained bear indeed! Would that it were chained and not free to harry those who are not heretics but—” Someone seized and stifled the shouting man. It might have been Will’s father. At the same time, the earl’s boot, still in a heavily encrusted metal stirrup, gave a kick or a shove and both Edward Arden and John Shakespeare toppled back into the crowd. Folk bounced into me, and we went down like bowling pins at least four rows deep. I righted myself and leaped up before the rest, even before Will.
I knew Will could get in terrible trouble for this. He was always worried about letting his father down, and I shuddered to think what his mother would do if she’d known the Shakespeare heir had ridden off for the day with the Whateley wench. Will’s sister Joan had called me that, and of a certain she didn’t hear it from Will. The queen and her courtiers evidently strode out upon the bridge, for the crowd farther up the banks of the lake let loose a mighty cheer. Our angle of sight was bad to watch Her Majesty but good to see the tumbler when he began to tiptoe upon the narrow railing high above the lake as if he had not a care in the world.
We stared at each other in a stalemate but hardly, I thought, a truce. Air from an unseen source shifted a battle banner behind his head. ” With a shudder up my spine, I realized then what I said in the next few moments could save Will or damn him to torture, imprisonment or even death. “But tell me,” Cecil said, leaning on his elbows and steepling his long-fingered hands before his mouth, “before we go on, exactly what is William Shakespeare to you? Here you are, an exotic woman, a tempting vixen, when he has a wife and family back in Stratford-Upon-the-Avon.
1914 (UK Edition) by Jean Echenoz