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3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  505 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews
Alfred Day wanted his war. In its turmoil he found his proper purpose as the tail-gunner in a Lancaster bomber; he found the wild, dark fellowship of his crew, and - most extraordinary of all - he found Joyce, a woman to love. But that's all gone now - the war took it away. Maybe it took him, too.
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published April 5th 2007 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2007)
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Jan 16, 2016 Fionnuala rated it it was amazing
Reviewed in 2012
I like books about heroes, unassuming heroes, the quiet ones who never get promotion, never get awards for bravery. Alfred Day, turret gunner in a bomber squad during WWII is one such hero, a man of huge and noble courage who is constantly beset by his own personal armoury of fears and terrors.

I also like books where authors take risks and experiment with voice. But the author must keep the narrative sufficiently lucid, she must remember her duty to her readers. AL Kennedy takes
Apr 12, 2013 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, brits
Ms Kennedy should have a category of her own with different coloured stars, or the option to have the stars squared, 3D at the very least. She's a writer who expects a lot of her reader, and I like that. The opening chapter of this novel is a struggle, even the second time round it's not a smooth ride, no familiar easy ground, nothing recognizable, nothing we can sort into easy categories. Ms Kennedy disorientates you just as much as Alfie Day, the main character is disorientated, lost, thrown o ...more
Apr 03, 2011 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enough about war already……or not.

At a time when we’re all sick of hearing about and seeing the consequences of war this is a book about war well worth reading. At 15 Alfred Day lies about his age and joins the RAF as a gunner to get away from his violent father and his small Midlands town that threatens a lack luster life and escapes to see the world or at least bomb it one target and mission at a time. The story is told in the third person with forays into the second person point of view and Al
Aug 15, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Even though I’ll soon be celebrating the 50th anniversary of my arrival here in Australia, I still feel an inordinate sense of British pride in the WW2 achievements of the RAF. Those young men who took to the skies against Nazism are heroes to me, as they were to beleaguered Britain, fighting alone while the rest of Europe had capitulated and her American allies were still clinging to isolationism. As everyone knows, the casualty rate was shocking - while bomber crews had a better chance than th ...more
Laurie Neighbors
Nov 19, 2012 Laurie Neighbors rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Technically, a brilliant example of how to write a researched novel. But also brilliant in so many other ways as well. I had started the book once before and found it a bit cold. But on this second attempt, I trudged through the early emotional distance and let Kennedy shape me into a slobbering, empathetic mess in the final fourth of the novel. Just as I like it.
A.L. Kennedy - winner of 2007 Costa Book of the Year Award

Dedication: THA MÓRAN AN SO

Opening: Alfred was growing a moustache.
Mark Desrosiers
Jun 17, 2008 Mark Desrosiers rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
A tiny WWII Lanc tailgunner volunteers as an extra in some postwar prison camp documentary, and then returns to his job at a used book store. That's the basic plot, but there's so much nasty in between. The constant shifting back and forth of the wounded narrative never lets you go. Plus, "you" are him -- the second-person voice kicks in frequently enough to make you wonder (when you're finished) whether you have a reliable narrator here. In the end -- the very last page -- things turn shifty-ey ...more
Edward S. Portman
Libro strano questo Day (Day, non giorno), perché intreccia più di una semplice storia ma ne ordisce almeno tre: una storia, di più o meno amore; una storia, di guerra; una storia di astinenza, da guerra. Ognuna di esse ha sottotracce e spunti possibili, diramandosi separate ma poi di nuovo unite con mille radici ad affondare in uno stesso identico terreno: il periodo a cavallo della fine della seconda guerra mondiale.
La parte più riuscita, anche se tutte le parti si mescolano omogenee tra di l
Book Lover's Boudoir
Aug 06, 2015 Book Lover's Boudoir rated it it was ok
Shelves: al-kennedy
Day just didn’t work for me. I really wanted to enjoy it. I’ve wanted to read more of Kennedy since I loved Everything You Need. I’ve seen Day in the library numerous times and thought it sounded great. Kennedy doesn’t pull it off with Day.

STRUCTURE: Kennedy doesn’t number the chapters in Day. The chapter started a few lines down from the top so you knew when you were starting a new one. This niggled me a bit. I like to flick through to the next chapter so I can judge how long it is so I know if
Sep 25, 2016 Tenli rated it it was amazing
Read this in one gulp on the long flight back from the UK. Day is a wrenching but ultimately hopeful story of a young man who is still very troubled several years after returning from service as an RAF pilot in WWII. Kennedy uses point of view in a very interesting way in this novel, which adds to the immediacy of the story. Kennedy is apparently a highly regarded Scottish writer; I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.
Jun 01, 2009 Matthijs rated it liked it
The story is non existent, but not in a bad way, but more in a train of thought way, where the reader is convinced of the fact that life itself is more or less a story and doesn't need to be spiced up with strange occurrences or intrigue between lovers or antagonists. Kennedy opts for the day to day life of a tail-gunner of a Lancaster bomber and many of the events occurring in the book are logical for the main-character because of the style of writing explained above.

The life of this Sergeant
K. Wills
Jun 25, 2014 K. Wills rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was going to rate this book 4 stars, but a day after finishing it, it is still with me, and when I re-read the highlighted paragraphs on my Kindle, I found them heartbreaking. "Day," by A.L. Kennedy, is about an RAF airman who makes it through the war and in 1946 or thereabouts is working as an extra in a British film about prisoners of war - of which he was one, so of course his surroundings on the movie set come to haunt him a bit. There is a lot of internal dialogue in which you eventually ...more
Ubik 2.0
Oct 27, 2012 Ubik 2.0 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fin dalle prime pagine del libro due sentimenti, in apparenza contrastanti, catturano il lettore:
- la scrittura è affascinante, allusiva, originale, con capoversi che sembrano poesie e lasciano traspirare l'atmosfera dei luoghi e dei tempi in cui il racconto si svolge;
- il romanzo richiede un impegno superiore a quanto siamo soliti dedicare e la volontà di proseguire la lettura nonostante una straniante mancanza di precisi punti fermi che condiziona la comprensione degli eventi almeno per il pri
Roderick Hart
Feb 13, 2010 Roderick Hart rated it really liked it
This novel is based on the life of Alfred Day, a tail-gunner in a Lancaster Bomber during World War 11. Does she succeed in portraying the experience of being a tail-gunner in a Lancaster Bomber? I haven’t the faintest idea, and neither does the author. So for those parts of the book where bombing runs are described she is relying on research and the reader must either take her work on trust or beat a path to the Imperial War Museum.

Alfred Day is a decent man but somewhat tongue-tied when it com
Jan 07, 2013 Robyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book at a B&B in the Bourdeaux region of France two years ago. I am guessing that this book has not been published in the U.S., as I see I am the only review and this book won the prestigious Costa Award in Great Britain. It's too bad U.S publishers don't pick up a more diverse group of authors.

Normally, I don't put a lot of descriptions of books in my reviews - as I figure that everyone can read the summary of the book themselves. But I will try to put a brief description s
Aug 13, 2016 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
I must have been especially sleepy while reading the first 21 pages, because I didn't have my bearings at all. When it dawned on me where/when the story was taking place (on a postwar film set), I promptly halted and went back to begin again.

I liked this note on re-reading Sherlock Holmes stories by necessity due to shortages of reading material: The cases had blended together, but that was fine, because being unsure of what ended up where meant the stories could stand a few readings, twisting
Jun 15, 2009 Leslie rated it liked it
Shelves: flying, wwii
I had mixed feelings about this book, and I think it comes down to the issue of voice. The mannered, manic, fluid POV really captured the fragmented psyche of someone (Alfie Day) who has endured unimaginable trauma (both in his family life and during his stint as an RAF gunner), but despite its inventive rhythms and fractures, the way the prose mimics a broken mind's machinery, I felt it paradoxically kept me from understanding him. Every time I picked up the book, it felt like work, like I had ...more
Apr 29, 2016 Miriam rated it it was ok
I read this book for a uni course on contemporary Scottish literature, and that is the only reason I finished it.
The first fifty pages or so were incredibly hard work to slog through, and with the past flowing into the present, random italicization of some thoughts, and shifts back and forth to the second perspective, the author doesn't really seem to want the reader to have a good time reading her book.
Once you get used to the style of the narration, however, (and once the italicized intrusive
Jan 13, 2010 Jeanette rated it did not like it
Shelves: book-club
After struggling with Kennedy's "Day" for a week, I decided to check reviews in an attempt to discover what I was missing in this novel. I knew that the style of the novel was one of the problems if not the problem I was having with the novel. The first review compared Kennedy's writing to Dostoevsky's, dark characters struggling in their dark world. Another review pointed out that "Day" is written in the second person point-of-view which few authors use in writing novels. I think the second per ...more
Jul 12, 2015 Carolyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, war
A war veteran finds himself acting as an extra in a film about the war…and finally finds himself back in a place he understands. A place where he can finally come to terms with his war experiences, his regrets, his hopes…

What an amazing book. Just as Kennedy’s last novel “Paradise” took me so much into the mind of the alcoholic main character that I could practically taste the alcohol on my tongue, this book brings you into a completely different world, yet just as fully. Alfred’s experiences in
Bookmarks Magazine

Named twice as one of Granta's Best Young British Novelists, A. L. Kennedy plumbs the depths of darkness. In her ninth book of fiction, Paradise (HHHJ July/Aug 2005), she explored alcoholism. Day, a psychologically complex novel that examines the true costs of war, combines war, romance, and history. By delving deep inside Alfred's psyche, Kennedy offers an immediate, surreal portrait of one man's disintegration. Critics agree that Kennedy's vivid depictions of war are the most compelling, origi

Carla Stafford
Apr 09, 2015 Carla Stafford rated it really liked it
This is my second read by A.L. Kennedy. She has an incredible voice. In spite of the fact that I have decided that I don't love the cryptic nature of the modern short story, I quite liked the style that Indelible Acts was laden with-DAY was no different in this respect. I am going to admit that for the first thirty or so pages, I was not completely certain that I understood what was going on. I may have (allegedly) googled a plot summary to make sure that I was on the right track...*Shwew!*

Roberta (Bobbie)
Mar 14, 2011 Roberta (Bobbie) rated it it was amazing
Kris, thanks for recommending this book. I never would have come across it on my radar screen. It was terrific writing and quite astonishing how Kennedy was able to move back and forth from past to present as well as change voices. It was tender, funny, grim and poignant as Kennedy wrote of Alfie Day, a tailgunner in WWII. One of my cousins was a tailgunner in the Vietnam War, so I kept thinking of him and how his shoulder injury from a mission finally allowed him to be discharged. My main criti ...more
May 25, 2008 Lawrence rated it liked it
This is a hard book to get engaged with, partly because of the gloominess of the main character. Ironic, since the book uses the second person to force the reader into the heart of the story and the character's mind and emotions. There are certainly some throw away aspects of the book, like the characters of "the Good German" and even Alfie's nemesis, Vasyl, whose threat of violence comes to nothing but a lurking presence somewhere in Britian. But Alfie's suffering and almost claustrophobic mono ...more
Aug 23, 2008 David rated it it was amazing
This book is a stunner.

I found Day randomly at a bookstore on an island in the North Sea, of all places. I had never heard of the writer or of this novel, which came out in '07.

Somehow, the author has found a way to channel the mind of a WWII British tail gunner into a book that, if one hadn't known otherwise, might have actually been written by an RAF survivor. Though the story is a collage of narratives and time frames (internal dialogue, 2nd person during the war, 3rd person after the war, e
Jayne Charles
Aug 04, 2011 Jayne Charles rated it liked it
This is a tough read, requiring a lot of work on the part of the reader. You can't just glide over the lines, you have to sit up and take notice. The first chapter or so was totally disorientating; without the brief synopsis on the back cover I wouldn't have had a clue what was going on. The narrative ploughed on, though, with little explanation and it was like being dragged along by my hair. I have to admit the writing is of a stupendously high quality, and I can see why the book won the Costa ...more
Jul 17, 2010 Mandy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2010
A.L. Kennedy excels herself once more as she weaves through Alfred Day's consciousness. His memories before during and after the war sometimes sit side by side, demonstrating Alfred's confusion between the now and the past, making us question his reliability as a narrator.
Unlike many readers, I didn't think that Kennedy slipped into the second person as a purposeful technique placing the reader in our protagonist's shoes. Rather this is Alfred's own voice reaching out to us, a young man trying t
Jun 19, 2010 Jackie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
uhhhhh! well, i started this book a while ago and had to put it aside. i really didn't think that i would be able finish it at all but i hate to leave a book unfinished and it was given to me by a friend and he wants it back so... thought i would give it a go.

Alfred Day was a RAF pilot during WWII who seemed to have had a bad childhood. he is currently working as an extra in a movie and he seems to be flashing back to the war, to his experiences with his "girl" and his dealings with his dad. it
Mar 30, 2009 Rita marked it as to-read
New York Review [David Lodge:] very positive on this book, one of many novels by "one of the most respected of younger British fiction writers [born 1965:], esp. admired for her stylistic virtuosity and droll, dark sense of humor; but her works to date have been mostly about personal relationships, domestic conflicts, and various kinds of social and psycho. dysfunction like abuse, addition, and depression.."

"A novel in the modernist employs formal char. of mod. writing like narrative
May 29, 2010 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: prize-winners, 2010
I wasn't sure where this was going for a while so found myself cautiously reading unsure of praise or not. By the end though I really sunk into Alfred Day's story as it unfolds through shambling, incoherent thoughts, fear, worry and great passion.

Detailing his experience in the second world war as a tail gunner in a Lancaster bomber it flits between the present (post war Britain) and the not too distant past. Despite his inarticulate nature he relives the main relationships in his life with his
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Alison Louise Kennedy (born 22 October 1965 in Dundee) is a Scottish writer of novels, short stories and non-fiction. She is known for a characteristically dark tone, a blending of realism and fantasy, and for her serious approach to her work. She occasionally contributes columns and reviews to UK and European newspapers including the fictional diary of her pet parrot named Charlie.
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“A good roast of sun, it slows you, lets you relax–and out here if there's anything wrong, you can see it coming with bags of time to do what's next. This is the place and the weather for peace, for the cultivation of a friendly mind.” 8 likes
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