The novel by Sebastian Faulks (1993)

I picked up this novel of the First World War in the airport on my way to Australia in 1997. I got so wrapped up in it that I finished it at dawn in a grass hut on the beach on the tiny island of Ko Phi Phi in The Andaman Sea. I immediately wrote in my diary: “Jack and Stephen, and my grandfather Arthur, died tragic and unnecessary deaths in Flanders Fields so long ago. It’s up to us , their vastly more fortunate descendants and beneficiaries, to live the good, and perhaps even great, lives that were so cruelly snatched away from them. As from tomorrow I’ll…..”

Birdsong’ has got it all: lust, curiosity, despair, love, courage, terror, kindness, puzzlement, characters one really comes to care about, and an ending worthy of the whole. I don’t think you’ll ever forget it. I certainly can’t.

Leave a Reply