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Lethargica by Edward Carpenter

Lethargica (edition 2012)

by Edward Carpenter

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Authors:Edward Carpenter
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Lethargica by Edward H. Carpenter




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Lethargica is an excellent and well-written short story set during World War One. The story is told from the perspective of a soldier; you never learn his name and in fact, apart from a doctor and maybe a couple more characters, nobody is really named. The story awesomely depicts the drudgery of warfare; the long lulls between battles, the pointlessness of war.

The main character is an American who volunteered to join the war leaving behind the woman he loves. As I just mentioned, the book describes the drudgery of war very well, the soldier who signed up because he believed in the cause, and the woman he left behind. As the story progresses, the soldier wonders why his love has stopped writing and he decides to enact a plan that will ensure that he will be sent home.

Once he is home he discovers that his love is bedridden and unresponsive. The story then takes a turn and describes a disease that had afflicted many people. This story was very surprising and sad - I had no idea that this had even happened or had heard of encephalitis lethargica. ( )
  slimy07 | Sep 27, 2013 |
When I started reading this book, I had no idea that encephalitis lethargica was a real condition. I thought this story was just 100% fiction. This disease claimed many lives during WWI but was over shadowed by war death and the Spanish flu.

This disease sounds like the paralysis a person in surgery could wake up in: the brain is awake, the senses are awake but the body can not move. Scary.

But this short story is about a volunteer soldier and the woman he loves that he left behind. By the time he is released from service, he finds his love in the hospital with this disease. He loves her, she loves him and can feel his touches and hear his voice, but cant respond. She eventually passes. ( )
  lizamichelle1 | Apr 4, 2013 |
It is 1914, World War I, France; an American Volunteer soldier is desperately looking for a way home. He has stopped receiving any word from his wife and knows he needs to go to her. His wife has what is called Lethargica, which is a mysterious disease that was randomly claiming victims during the WWI and Spanish flu days. Lethargica is when the victim can hear and feel everything, but cannot move, answer or perform basic functions (blinking, toilet, etc). This is a love story as well as a history lesson on the unusual. At first it comes off kind of stuffy and overly-descriptive. I even looked up amazon.com to see if it was going to get any better. I saw lots of stars and rave reviews. So I kept reading. After the first 3 or 4 pages the reader will fall into a rhythm with it and fall in love with it. Wonderful, yet heartbreaking story. I recieved this book for free from www.librarything.com. ( )
  beckiestoneking | Dec 21, 2012 |
I won an early review copy. I really enjoyed it. Very well written. Learned something new at the same time. 5 stars! ( )
  Crazy_Bunny_Lady | Sep 27, 2012 |
This story and the fact a part of it actually happened just tore me up. The story was well writtten and was while a beautifully written story was oh so sad. Not all stories have to end in a happy ending but I was glad to have read it. I felt so bad for the soldier that went through all his planning and suffering in order to get back to his wife that he loved so very much. The story is short, but it is very powerful. I am a student of history and especiall military history but this story will have me looking into others that are written like Mr. Carpenters . The story will be remembered as one of a handful of very meaningful stories of loved ones and those that they wait for. I recommend this book to everyone. To think that Encephalitis Lethargica actually happened and was forgotten due to other devastating events is very tragic and for those that died and their families just sat and waited for a medical or any kind of explanation explanation and never receiving one is not just sad but oh so very wrong. ( )
  Elliot1822 | Jul 18, 2012 |
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