Richard Nicholson's Reviews > Lunch With A Soldier

Lunch With A Soldier by Derek Hansen
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Jul 12, 09

Read in June, 2009

N.B. My review for Lunch With A Soldier starts the same as Lunch With Mussolini.

Derek Hansen’s ‘lunch with’ series is a compelling read. Four old guys meet every week at the same restaurant for lunch in Sydney and each takes turns at telling a story. The invisible line of fact vs fiction is often blurred with masterful story-telling and the listeners (the mates of whichever old guy is telling his/the story) and readers are often not sure what to believe and what to not.

Well written fiction that is very descriptive and takes you into the world of whichever historical story is being told. The characters are complex - some kind, some evil but often than not in Hansen’s stories a mixture of contradictions.

In Lunch With A Soldier, we see a new twist in the story telling from the old guys. It’s the last in the ‘lunch with’ series but for two important reasons Neil’s story differs. Firstly he is the only Australian in the group so the narration is specifically set in Australia (along with war-time Vietnam in the 60’s), and more importantly he insists the story is true. Like all of Hansen’s stories he takes the reader to the places he is revealing and in this case the Red Ridge country of Northwest NSW with stories of fortunes won and lost from opals and the hardships of farming are compelling.

For me not quite as a stand out as Lunch With Mussolini, hence the 3 star.
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