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Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
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Birdsong (1993)

by Sebastian Faulks

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: French Trilogy (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,0341381,292 (4.01)415
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    Polaris-: For anyone interested in an expertly told history of the background, preparation, and execution of the Battle of the Somme, as well as the aftermath, this will certainly flesh out a lot of the detail behind the central battle featured in Faulks' novel.
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» See also 415 mentions

English (135)  Dutch (3)  All languages (138)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
A poetic, heart-breaking novel, about the atrocities of war and the hope that springs even under the most harrowing circumstances. Sebastian Faulks writes with elegant, beautiful prose, and creates memorable characters.

Stephen Wraysford and Isabelle Azaire take the central stage due to their tragic love-affair, but for me the characters that are the heart of the novel are Jack Firebrace and Weir, representing all that is good in a time of war, and the importance of self-sacrifice in times of duty.

The only element that didn't attract my attention was the part of the narration that is set during the 1970s. I understand why Faulks decided to include it in Birdsong, but I wouldn't miss it if it wasn't there. There is a BBC adaptation, produced in 2012, with some alterations but with respect in the spirit of the novel and a great performance - one of his many great performances, actually - by Joseph Mawle as Jack Firebrace. ( )
  AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
So evocative of a time & the feelings - love & pain - in a beautifully written tale. However, a bit like Captain Corelli's Mandolin, it's a book of two pieces and could have been better tied together. ( )
  kate_author | Jun 2, 2018 |
Unexpected. The erotic and sensual love scenes are captivating without lewdness. I gained a whole new understanding of trench warfare and the profound, stupefying loss of life on the battlefields of WWI. ( )
  FoxTribeMama | Aug 25, 2017 |
A beautiful book, one of those acclaimed pieces of literary fiction that actually lives up to its reputation. It combines vividly created settings, fully developed characters and a story with pace and incident. Harrowing in places it creates an understanding of war better than any other piece of fiction I have read. Highly recommended. ( )
  bevok | Jul 31, 2017 |
Birdsong is really 2 stories in one.... One about Stephen Wraysford, a twenty year old boy working in France, falling in love with all the troubles that entails (a historical romance), then going to war and describing the brutality both above the ground and below it... very detailed ( military historical)....

Then the scene moves forward about 60 years about story of a woman, Elizabeth, who wants to discover what her grandfather was like... she has boxes of memorabilia and journals written in code but little else and of course a romance on her own (back to historical romance again).

It seems to be a dichotomy that is hard to resolve at first but it works and in the end a lot of loose ends are tied up nicely.

Slow to start (not a great fan of historical romance) but once the war starts it is hard to put down... a very good read ( )
  Lynxear | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Sebastian Faulksprimary authorall editionscalculated
Davids, TinkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Firth, PeterNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Perria, LidiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, SamuelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
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Epigraph
'When I go from hence, let this be my parting word, that what I have seen is unsurpassable.' Rabindranath Tagore, Gitanjali
Dedication
For Edward
First words
The boulevard du cange was a broad, quiet street that marked the eastern flank of the city of Amiens.
Quotations
Madame Azaire had not fully engaged Stephen's eye
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
Published to international critical and popular acclaim, this intensely romantic yet stunningly realistic novel spans three generations and the unimaginable gulf between the First World War and the present. As the young Englishman Stephen Wraysford passes through a tempestuous love affair with Isabelle Azaire in France and enters the dark, surreal world beneath the trenches of No Man's Land. (0-679-77681-8)
Haiku summary
Brave soldiers digging
claustrophobic tunnels. Trench
warfare on both sides.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679776818, Paperback)

Readers who are entranced by the sweeping Anglo sagas of Masterpiece Theatre will devour Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks's historical drama. A bestseller in England, there's even a little high-toned erotica thrown into the mix to convince the doubtful. The book's hero, a 20-year-old Englishman named Stephen Wraysford, finds his true love on a trip to Amiens in 1910. Unfortunately, she's already married, the wife of a wealthy textile baron. Wrayford convinces her to leave a life of passionless comfort to be at his side, but things do not turn out according to plan. Wraysford is haunted by this doomed affair and carries it with him into the trenches of World War I. Birdsong derives most of its power from its descriptions of mud and blood, and Wraysford's attempt to retain a scrap of humanity while surrounded by it. There is a simultaneous description of his present-day granddaughter's quest to read his diaries, which is designed to give some sense of perspective; this device is only somewhat successful. Nevertheless, Birdsong is an unflinching war story that is bookended by romances and a rewarding read.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:45 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Rootless and heartbroken Stephen Wraysford joins the army at the outbreak of World War I. He and his men are given the assignment to tunnel under the German lines and set off bombs. The comaraderie, love, and loyalty of the soldiers contrasts with the horrors of the underground, air, and trench warfare.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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