Spring 1915. On a sprawling country estate not far from London a young woman mourns her husband, fallen on the battlefields of what has been declared the first World War...
But the isolated and eerie stillness in which she grieves is shattered when her home is transformed into a bustling military hospital to serve the war's most irreparably injured. Disturbed by the intrus
As she watches her home become an absence of her former life, she slowly finds herself grasping for comfort in the dream of her dead husband. As she begins to take part in helping at the hos...more
Jody Shields constructed her first novel, The Fig Eater (2000), around the imagined murder of Freud's famous patient Dora. Similarly, two historical figures (Anna Coleman Ladd and Dr. Varaztad Kazanjian) provide the kernel of her absorbing new novel. Most critics loved this literary exploration of grief despite its unhurried plot; they praised the novel's fascinating subject, its engaging characters, and its beautiful use of language. In sharp contrast, The New York Times criticized "pat similes...more
The book is loosely based on two actual historical figures, Anna Coleman Ladd, and Varaztad Kazanjian. Both worked in the treatment of the wounded in the First World War, where facial wounding was very common. Apparently, not a lot was known in this field, and Kazanjian improvised a lot with his treatm...more
They all have terrible facial wounds......there is a doctor who tires to reconstruct their faces so they can assimilate back into society - great part of the book. but you have to ask - is this to help the soldiers look "normal" or will they still end up n...more
Overall, I can't say it was a fun read. It was a fairly dark book, as you'd expect from a story set almost entirely in...more
I haven't finished this book yet, but want to record my current impression so I don't forget it - the prose is posed...more
She ends up falling for one of the pati...more
mourns her husband, fallen on a distant battlefield…
The eerie stillness in which she grieves is shattered as her home is transformed into a bustling military hospital. Unsettled by the intrusion of the suffering soldiers, the increasingly fragile widow finds unexpected solace in the company of a wounded officer whose mutilated face, concealed by bandages, she cannot see. But then their affair takes an unexpected turn. F...more
The book was part educational, part research and the rest was a canvas of beautiful colors painted onto a sepia portrait.
I loved the question in the book that delves deep into our souls that asks "....more