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Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt
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Devastation Road

by Jason Hewitt

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Europe is burning, the war has officially ended, the camps emptied, masses of people have no home, so they walk and walk.A young man wakes up in field, wet and shivering, his head hurting, he has little memory except his name, Owen. He see a young man was Hing him, a Czech it turns out, named Janek, with little English. Some memories, brief glimpses return in flashes, an airplane, he thinks he must have been a pilot, he is pretty sure he is English, and feels as if he has forgotten something. They join the masses walking, the disposed Germans, the Russians, those whose homes have been burned out, carrying the few things they have left. They meet a young girl with a baby, she says she is a Polish Jew, and she joins them in their walk. Eventually they reach a displaced person camp, a massive place with so many people, mass confusion. Owen wants only to return home, Janek is looking for his lost brother and the young woman, somewhere to belong.

I have read so many books about WWII, the Holocaust, but not many dealing with what happened at wars end. In the authors afterword, he notes that 11.5 million people were displaced in Europe, 7.7 million of them were in Germany, where this story takes place. The writing is stark, amplifying the desolation both of the people and the burning landscape. Our characters have kept some information to themselves, things that will come to the surface once they get to the camp. In Owens case, his memories returns in bits and pieces, but his full story is revealed by books end.

In some ways this book reminded me of [book:The Road|6288], except for the masses of people this could be a post apocalyptic setting. Also the Syrian refugees and their desperation, their walk to find a place of safety. History repeating itself, again and again. Over and over. ( )
  Beamis12 | Aug 25, 2017 |
This was a very interesting story about a man who apparently got amnesia and woke up in a field towards the end of WWII. This journey was a great read and one I really enjoyed.

The characters he finds along the way are VERY interesting. The first one, a boy, speaks no English and the second one has a baby she is willing for someone, anyone to take.

The ending when Owen starts to remember things is very good. The truth about his "friends" on the journey is sad and a total surprise.

Thanks to Little, Brown and Company and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. ( )
  debkrenzer | Jul 5, 2017 |
Devastation Road - A deeply compelling and poignant story

Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt is one of the most deeply compelling and poignant stories of the year that will touch you and leaves you asking is redemption possible. The prose is so well written as you read it feels like you are watching a movie of the book, the imagery is so powerful, the characterisation so strong, you could be in the midst of Europe at the end of war.

Owen wakes up in the middle of a field in April 1945 and he thinks he is somewhere in Hampshire, when in fact he is in Czechoslovakia, and he only finds this out when Janek comes to his rescue. Owen’s memory is fractured and he has bits of memory of who he is and wants to get home. He at first gets up and begins to walk in the direction of what he thinks is home and it is when the young Czechoslovakian Janek comes across him they begin their search for home and brothers together.

As they begin their walk they find they are not the only people walking as everyone seems to be on the roads carrying their worldly possessions. As they walk they come across Irene who tries to abandon her baby and as Owen carries the child she follows at a distance. Avoiding the Russians who seem to rampaging across Czechoslovakia they try and avoid being caught up and split up.

While they are walking and resting we see the fragments of memory Owen has as he tries to work out how and why he is looking for his brother Max. We also see the back story between Owen, his brother and a woman called Connie but the picture just is not clear enough for him. It is at the end when all the memories really start to fall in to place he can truly see the full picture before he goes home.

Throughout the book we get a view of what it was like in April and May 1945 as refugees and displaced persons wandered across Europe trying to find home, if they had a home and family left. Like Owen’s mind the whole of mainland Europe is fractured and trying to find their way home, and looking for redemption at the same time.

Devastation Road will be especially poignant for those families such as mine that were fractured during the war, being from a Polish family some of this is very familiar to me. I have heard the stories of part of my family being displaced persons, others in ‘exile’ in Siberia while my Grandfather was fighting to liberate Europe.

Devastation Road describes three people’s search for redemption that takes them many miles and for Owen will take him full circle. There is a stop off point at a camp which is Bergen-Belson and some descriptions of the problems the medics were having there before Owen is finally moved to a British Military Zone.

Jason Hewitt has written an absorbing deeply compelling and poignant story that at times will touch you. He has posed a number of questions such as is redemption possible, where do we belong and who are we? This is a superb read, reminded me of Birdsong even if a different conflict, but Hewitt writes so poetically and delicately you can only enjoy this excellent book. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | Jul 23, 2015 |
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Jason Hewittprimary authorall editionscalculated
Harms, LaurenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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After waking up in a German field at the end of World War II, a man with only flashes of his memory intact searches for his identity while getting caught up in a flood of displaced people, including a teenager with whom he forms an unlikely alliance.

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