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Back (1946)

by Henry Green

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305576,472 (3.83)23
Back is the story of Charley Summers, who is back from the war and a POW camp having lost the woman he loved, Rose, to illness before he left and his leg to fighting. In other words, Charley has very little to come back to, only memories, and on top of that he has been deeply traumatized by his experience of war. Rose's father introduces him to another young woman, Nancy, and Charley becomes convinced that she is in fact Rose and pursues her. Back is at once a Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities, a voyage into the world of madness, and a celebration of the improbable healing powers of love.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
Finished this hours ago, cannot stop thinking about it. ( )
  kvschnitzer | Dec 8, 2019 |
A disturbing story about a soldier coming back to England after spending time as a German prisoner of war. While he was gone, the woman he loved and with whom he was having an affair has had a child and later died. He becomes convinced that her half sister is really her. Eventually, after a series of coincidences and misunderstandings he ends up marrying the new woman. The novel is surprisingly difficult to read, largely I think because of extraordinarily clipped terse style. The dialogue, which is extremely idiomatic, is also terse and unexpansive, as if the characters are unwilling to give much away. There is a helpful afterword in this edition by George Tole. ( )
  sjnorquist | Apr 23, 2015 |
Wonderful, strange, innovative book. The last page is one of the most affecting things I've read for a long time. How did people survive surviving a war for existence itself? i know that 50s britain was a bit buttoned-up, but my God, how did people get through the 40s even remotely mentally intact? makes me want to watch that ken loach (is it?) film about the founding of the NHS. gravity's rainbow seems to me another novel that captures the non-russian/non-german experience of living under such assault. ( )
1 vote motleystu | Sep 7, 2013 |
In this tender, true, beautifully written book, people try to free themselves from their memories and get back to living. Charley, just back from a German prison camp and a war that took one of his legs, must now come to terms with the death of his lover, who died while he was in prison.

Never sentimental and sometimes comic, this book was remarkably good. ( )
  barringer | Dec 30, 2012 |
Showing 5 of 5
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A country bus drew up below the church and a young man got out.
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Back is the story of Charley Summers, who is back from the war and a POW camp having lost the woman he loved, Rose, to illness before he left and his leg to fighting. In other words, Charley has very little to come back to, only memories, and on top of that he has been deeply traumatized by his experience of war. Rose's father introduces him to another young woman, Nancy, and Charley becomes convinced that she is in fact Rose and pursues her. Back is at once a Shakespearean comedy of mistaken identities, a voyage into the world of madness, and a celebration of the improbable healing powers of love.

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