Thanks to an e-pal in England (Thanks, Janice), I’ve found a new author to add to my Favorites list: Sebastian Faulks. I’ve just read Birdsong, copyright 1993. It is not just a good read. It is literature. The passion of love, the ignominious degradation of war–it’s all in there, and in some of the finest language I believe I’ve ever read.
Example–men returning from war:
The lean, expressionless creatures who stepped ashore … Their bodies and their clothes were encrusted with dirt and in their eyes was a blank intransigence.They moved with grim, automatic strength. They were frightening to the civilians because they had evolved not into killers but to passive beings whose aim was to endure.
When I read this passage, I pictured them as a melded, huge machine moving as one big piece, squeaking down the street on rusty wheels, humanity soldered together and motorized with no emotion left. That’s what I love about Faulk’s prose–it inspires new conceptions.
Another example, on death:
All my life I had lived on the presumption that there was no existence beyond … Then I heard the sound of my own life leaving me…It was so…tender.
This book is moving in a way that gives to you rather than takes away. It is grounded in truth. It’s timeless. Well worth the read.
Copyright 2006 JO Janoski