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3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  20 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Private Thomas Leadbeater Turvey is nobody’s idea of a capable recruit. Shifted from regimental pillar to post, Turvey tries and fails at every odd job in the army with a remarkable genius for mishap.

A casualty before he has a chance to see action, Turvey watches the maimed and dying return from the front; thus Earle Birney’s comic masterpiece becomes an unforgettable indi
Published December 3rd 2010 by New Canadian Library (first published 1976)
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Slightly humourous at times, but also tiresome as Turvey is shuttled around for a few years by the incompetent bureaucracy of the wartime army, making it to the scene of the fighting too late (view spoiler). Then comes a depressing, dark segment of the book (though the theme of bureaucracy continues to the end). Turvey was just too stupid for me to really feel connected, and the women of the book...well, let's just s ...more
Enjoyable book with interesting vernacular and colloquialisms, a hapless protagonist, and a madcap plot that must have been rather unique in a 1949 war novel. Earle Birney ends the book on a rather sobering note, which is interesting... did he change the tone to preserve the glory of war or to pay respects to those consumed in it?

Worth reading: subtly humorous, eccentric cast, WWII – know what you're getting into.
Heather Clitheroe
I enjoyed it...kind if a Canadian Catch-22, but with an endearing hero. Recommended!
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Earle Alfred Birney was a distinguished Canadian poet and novelist, who twice won the Governor General's Award, Canada's top literary honor, for his poetry.
More about Earle Birney...
Ghost in the Wheels : Selected Poems One Muddy Hand: Selected Poems Last Makings Fall By Fury: & Other Makings Rag & Bone Shop

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