Reds_reads's Reviews > Birdsong

Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
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Jun 24, 11

bookshelves: 2011, wwi, historical-fiction
Read in February, 2011

I did enjoy this book, but not as much as I expected given its reputation and how much I enjoyed On Green Dolphin Street.

The strongest section of the book for me was that set during WWI. The descriptions were very vivid - from the carnage and confusion of battle, to the miserable trench conditions and perpetual danger faced by the sappers when underground, it was not an easy read. The characters and the way they interacted felt believable.

The first section of the book, covering the main character's trip to France and affair with a married woman was ok, although this seems to be the best place to say that I found the female characters somewhat weak - women as a mysterious breed to be idolised but not understood. Maybe this was meant to show us the main character's view of women? However to me it felt more like the author's (and this was my view before Faulks attracted criticism for his perceived sexism on his tv show about fiction).

The other plotline, set many years later, with the grandaughter finding out about her ancestor's early life was the least interesting part, I didn't care for her and don't feel that her story added to the book.

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