Recently for my English Literature course we are required to read two books in a similar genre in which we will compare for our coursework.
I have always wanted to read Atonement by Ian McEwan as I love the film and I have a particular soft spot for romance novels that are nestled in the time frame of the 1930's during WW2. I was advised that a good novel to coincide with Atonement was Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks. Now I had never really heard of this novel but was told that it was similar in involving WW2 and encased in it was a love story.
Upon buying the book it looked pretty big and when I started reading the first few chapters I found it pretty slow, boring and I had no idea where it was going. After getting into the book I have to say it is one of the best books I have ever read!!
The heartbreak of a forbidden love affair with the two main characters Isabelle and Stephen is gripping to the point of frustration yet what I admired and adored about the book so much was the ability of the Author Sebastian Faulks to really document the tragedy of the war alongside the tragedy of a love affair.
The way in which the novel is used to describe the events on the front line through the character Stephen were incredibly vivid and truthfully traumatizing. This book really hit a chord with me and I found myself crying with realization of the struggles of the men that gave their lives to the war.
Now I don't want to spoil the ending of this book to anyone that may be reading this and wants to read the book but the ending to Birdsong was astounding! It was touching to the soul and pinpointed the vulnerability and love that mankind is capable of.
I am so glad I have had the chance to read this novel and I haven't been so excited to start a piece of college work in my life, sad as it may sound!
'He threw up the conkers into the air in his great happiness. In the tree above him they disturbed a roosting crow, which erupted from the branches with an explosive bang of its wings, then rose up above him towards the sky, its harsh, ambiguous call coming back in long, grating waves towards the earth, to be heard by those still living'