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Strange Meeting by Susan Hill

Strange Meeting (1971)

by Susan Hill

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Beautifully written story of two men during World War I. Hill explores the sense of bewilderment, futility, despair and meaninglessness in a story that while firmly rooted in the conflict manages to be much more than just a war story. It's a fairly short novel, but somehow manages to say so much more than books that are eight times it's length (such as Birdsong). One of the most moving accounts of the war I have ever read, and I can honestly say that I experienced my own sense of loss once I came to the end.

Fabulous trip down memory lane regarding some iconic (as well as some less well known) children's television series. Packed full of interesting details for enthusiasts and casual readers alike, go back to the days when British television companies took children's drama seriously, spending time crafting a quality product.

I loved this book.

© Koplowitz 2009 ( )
  Ant.Harrison | Apr 29, 2013 |
I had never read a book by Susan Hill before and read this one only because of its subject matter. This is a beautifully composed and written book about the close friendship between two young men in the British Army in the earlier stages of World war I. Its structure is quite simple - one of them returns to the war after a minor injury, meets the other on the slow progress up the line towards the front and there they meet their (differing) fates. The prose is quite spare but beautifully descriptive, and athough almost totally about men (there are just a few tangential female characters) the female author has captured beautifully and realistically, it seems to me, the relationship which grows between a very reserved man and a very open one, at a time of great stress. The book is not very long; it is decidedly anti-war without being stridently so. ( )
1 vote ponsonby | May 15, 2011 |
Brilliant she's always enjoyable this title is no exception. ( )
  denidouble | Nov 9, 2010 |
Strange Meeting is a story of male friendship in the midst of war. John Hilliard is a young officer returning to France (WWI) after recuperating from a leg injury. If truth be told he is glad to be back, as the stay at home with his emotionally distant family has not been all that therapeutic. Losses were many in his absence and among the many new faces is David Barton, another young officer who he must share a room for a few weeks with. David is a much-liked, open, good-natured and congenial fellow—very different from John—but a friendship develops between the two. Soon, the unit which has been back away from the front lines on a kind of respite, is to be sent forward again and John is loathe to see David be changed by the real horrors of war as he has been.

In vividly descriptive prose, Hill brings alive through these two men a moment in history in all its inglorious and psychological detail. There's an appropriately subdued tone, perhaps a respectful mournfulness to the book which hangs heavy over the story and Hill does not gratuitously belabor any gore—she does not need to—a tribute to her skill as a writer. The end result of all of this is a riveting and subtly powerful book that transcends its 179 pages. ( )
3 vote avaland | Oct 25, 2010 |
Moving and heartbreaking, I thought it was brilliant how a woman writer takes on this intensely male and tough subject. ( )
  LaraJane | Oct 30, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140036954, Paperback)

John Hilliard, a young subaltern returning to the Western Front after a brief period of sick leave back in England, finds his battalion tragically altered. His commanding officer finds escape in alcohol, there is a new adjutant and even Hilliard's batman has been killed. But there is David Barton. As yet untouched and unsullied by war, radiating charm and common sense, forever writing long letters to his family. Theirs is a strange meeting and a strange relationship: the coming together of opposites in the summer lull before the inevitable storm.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:47 -0400)

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