Saturday 22 November 2014

Review ~ The Lie by Helen Dunmore


A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family.

For Daniel Branwell, newly returned to his native Cornwall, from the battlefield trenches of northern France, life is never going to be the same again. Tortured by the loss of  Frederick, his childhood friend, Daniel seeks to find some sort of resolution, and in the windswept corner of his Cornish home village, Daniel anguished and bereft, can only flounder from one set of tormented memories to another.

Beautifully written and in stark and often desolate prose, Daniel’s story intertwines with that of Felicia, Frederick’s gently grieving sister, whose own devastating loss overshadows any hope she has for the future. The story develops slowly, oh, so slowly, so that you truly get the chance to delve into Daniel’s psyche and learn to see the world through his eyes, and far too often, it’s a world that is found to be wanting.

In this commemoration year of the start of the Great War I have read quite a few books which uncover the thoughts and feelings of a lost generation of young men and women. Of lives, irrevocably changed by the momentous events of what they witnessed during the years 1914-1918. Without doubt, The Lie is up there with the best of the current crop of WW1 commemoration reads.


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