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El regreso del soldado

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  6,200 ratings  ·  690 reviews
Chris Baldry regresa del frente para encontrarse con las tres mujeres de su pasado: Kitty, su esposa, fría y hermosa; Jenny, su devota prima, que nunca admitió su amor por él… y Margaret, la única mujer a la que Chris recuerda, su primer amor de hace quince años. Debido a su amnesia, de su prima sólo recuerda la infancia y de su mujer nada en absoluto. En su recuerdo sólo ...more
Paperback, 140 pages
Published 2008 by Herce (first published 1918)
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LadyCalico She doesn't try to tell the whole story of World War I in a novella, just a few weeks of one soldier's life, and that is enough, and that is magnifice…moreShe doesn't try to tell the whole story of World War I in a novella, just a few weeks of one soldier's life, and that is enough, and that is magnificent The story is more on the nature and reality of what it means to love than the nature and reality of war.(less)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  6,200 ratings  ·  690 reviews


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Candi
"I heard, amazed, his step ring strong upon the stone, for I had felt his absence as a kind of death from which he would emerge ghostlike, impalpable."

Two women await the return of a soldier, Chris, from World War I. His wife, Kitty, is an upper-class woman, still mourning the death of their child. Jenny, his cousin, serves as narrator for this beautifully written novella by Rebecca West. I felt this wasn’t so much a commentary about the war itself as it was a critique of the social classes and
...more
Steven Godin
I shudder to think of what soldiers have to witness whist taking to the battlefield, regardless of what war they were fighting in. Some return home bathed in glory, but for others mental anguish and post traumatic stress can be emotionally paralyzing. What though of shell shock?, unable to remember the horrors of war would surely be a blessing?, but then again not. For loved ones back at home have to pick up the fragmented pieces of someones lost memories, and welcome back a complete stranger.

Re
...more
Warwick
Aug 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll tell you I think the Second World War was much more comfortable because in the First World War the position of women was so terrible, because there you were, not in danger. Men were going out and getting killed for you and you'd much prefer they weren't. […] There was a genuine humanitarian feeling of guilt about that in the first war. It was very curious, you see. There I sat on my balcony in Leigh-on-Sea and heard guns going in France. It was a most peculiar war. It was really better, in
...more
Paul Bryant
Jun 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
It’s a good news bad news kind of thing. Bad news is your husband has been away serving in the trenches in World War One and you haven't heard anything from him for a while. The good news is that you find out that your husband is physically well. Bad news is that he might have shell shock. Good news is that he’s coming back home next week! Bad news – when he arrives he can no longer remember the last 15 years. It’s like “so your name is Kitty and you’re my wife? Really?”
But what he can remember
...more
Cecily
How could you not enjoy a book that includes the idea of "an over-confiding explanation made by a shabby visitor while using the door-mat almost too zealously"?

PLOT
In this slim novel set during WW1, Charles and Kitty live in tasteful opulence, along with his cousin Jenny, who tells the story of Charles' memory loss. He returns to England with no memory of the last 15 years, desperate to see his youthful (and lower class) love, Margaret, who is also now married to someone else.

The story is reall
...more
Duane
This review contains spoilers.

Chris Baldry is the soldier in the novel, an English soldier returning from the battlefield of WWI, and he is suffering shell-shock which has erased the last 15 years of his memory. He is returning to three women; Kitty, his wife who he does not remember at all; Jenny, his cousin, who lives in the household, who he remembers as a younger girl; and Margaret, a girl he loved in his youth and believes now that he still loves. It seemed to me that two of the three women
...more
Christine
Apr 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Christine by: Candi 4, Off the Shelf

3 stars

I can sum things up here with an oxymoron: This one was too much work and too leisurely for me. Plus I didn’t connect with three of the main characters. Sounds like a one star, doesn't it? Well, no.

Let me explain. By too much work, I mean this one required my full attention. No distractions allowed. Despite making sure I was in a quiet room, I had to reread lots of sections at least twice to get the gist. Sometimes I just gave up on the gist. To be fair, my concentration could have been o
...more
Chrissie
I knew immediately when I started this that I was hooked. The writing grabbed me from the start. Then later I marveled at how expertly the characters were drawn; what they did and said and thought all meshed perfectly. Finally what fascinated me was the theme, the book's central question. Do you force a person to recognize the truth even if that truth may lead to unhappiness? This is a perfect book to discuss in a book club. Discussion is sure to be lively.

I adore how Rebecca West draws places
...more
Paul
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-one
2.5 stars
This is West’s first novel, published in 1918. It concerns a soldier, Chris Baldry, who is 36. He goes to war in France and as a result he is suffering from shellshock. This shellshock affects his memory and he believes he is twenty-one. This clearly has an impact on his family. He has a wife, Kitty, who he does not remember at all. His cousin Jenny, who narrates and who lives with the couple (in their rather large house, no working class slumming it here), he remembers. He returns beli
...more
Laura
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If there is such a thing as a “perfect” book, this is it. Rebecca West’s prose is like poetry — each word perfectly chosen, each phrase perfectly turned. It’s short enough to read during a pedicure, but the emotional wallop it packs demands a better setting — perhaps a conservatory . . . or a summerhouse?? (if only!) At any rate, I wouldn’t suggest the nail salon, where I just read it, or Highway 5, where I first listened to it on tape. Regardless of where you read it, though, it’s an absolutel ...more
Roman Clodia
Jun 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rereading this, I now take issue with my own assertions in my first-read review (below) that this is 'a simple and simply-told story': despite this being West's first novel, she chooses to tell the story via Jenny, Chris' cousin, secretly in love with him, and an interestingly limited narrator. She is perhaps the person who is most changed by events in the book moving from an unthinking, in-bred class prejudice that instinctually despises Margaret to something far more perceptive, open, and enli ...more
Connie G
Chris Baldry, a British soldier in World War I, was sent home suffering from shell shock. Although he was not physically wounded, he had a fifteen year memory loss. He was remembering life as a young man at age 21. One wonders if he is better off in a mental state outside reality. If he is "cured", he will be sent back to the front--to flooded trenches, cannon fire, and dead bodies. Which situation is really a state of madness?

Rebecca West also reminds us that the families of the soldiers are de
...more
Kathleen
“…I sat in the hall and wrote letters and noticed how sad dance music has sounded ever since the war began.”

It’s World War I, and while the men go off to fight, the women engage in their own power struggles. Some assume that power is primarily in their attractiveness. Of course, things are not so simple.

Rebecca West, 24 when this was published in 1918, takes us into the homes and the personal histories of a man and three women, and shows us how the ravages of war reach beyond the battlefield, in
...more
Loretta
Meh. The writing was good but I was pretty disappointed in the ending.
Mary Durrant
Oct 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
What a wonderful moving book , one that will stay with me for a long time.

A re-read for Armistice 2018!
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Rebecca West (1892-1983) was an English author, journalist, literary critic and travel author. Her real name was Cicely Isabel Fairfield and she got her alias when, as a struggling actress in London, she played the role of Romersholm, a play by Henrik Ibsen. In 1913, she wrote a provocative review of H. G. Wells' Marriage and Wells invited her to lunch. They fell in love and lived discreetly together for 10 years producing a son, Anthony West. Wells was into his second marriage then so he was no ...more
Brenda
Nov 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very emotional book, and through it all I kept asking myself...What would I do in a certain situation? All of which are not easy questions to answer.

I’ve just reread this and changed my rating from 4 to 5. I think this is a fabulous book. Every time I read it I get something else out of it. There’s so much going on in such a short work. I also love her description style, it’s so brilliant. It’s chock full, but for me it doesn’t overwhelm it just adds depth.

This is a book fraught with emotions
...more
Constantine
Rating: Very Good

Genre: Modern Classic + Historical

This is the story of one man and the three women in his life. Chris is a soldier who returns from World War I with a shell shock condition. He does not remember anything that happened to him in the last 15 years. He only remembers his life before that time. He does not remember the existence of his current wife, Kitty! All Chris wants right now is to see his lover back then, Margaret who is already married! The story is narrated from the perspec
...more
Sara
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Piyangie
The Return of the Soldier is a story of a soldier named Chris returning home with a memory loss due to a "shell-shock" and the three women who awaits his arrival - his wife, his cousin and his former love. The story develops on how these three women, while struggling with their emotional attachment to Chris, help him to bring his memory back.

Written as a third person narrative, the story talks of the life of Chris, shifting between past and present touching on his past relationship with his for
...more
Classic reverie
I had put "The Return of the Soldier" on my "to read" list years ago but decided after adding more of Rebecca West books, it was time, having never read her before. All I knew about this story was it was written by Rebecca West and it was about a soldier from World War 1. This brilliantly written story is an ultimate favorite of mine. As I read this I felt I was on an emotional roller coaster that was bombarded with strikes of lightning at times. I am still thinking about all the story conveyed ...more
Dannii Elle
This slim volume contains an entire era and acts as a spokesperson for a generation of men lacking a voice of their own. This was a poignant and painful read, on times, but told an important story with the most beautifully evocative and empathetic of language. I was enthralled in the characters and the almost voyeuristic insight into the historical gentry.
Veronique
4.5* re-read

This is a little gem of a book. At first, such a simple story of a hurt soldier coming back home from the frontline, but in fact much more. Even the title, so straightforward, takes on a new meaning by the end. This novel reminded me somehow of the saying - "Still waters run deep”.

West’s story reflects the ripple effects of war, first from the point of view of the women staying at home, waiting continually for the return of their loved ones, then through the soldier suffering the eff
...more
Diane S ☔
May 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor-2019
Thoughts soon.
Fiona MacDonald
I've never tried Rebecca West before, but I thought I would give this a go after finding it nestled among other Viragos in the attic. I also found soon after that there was a wonderful film of the book on YouTube which was my immediate next step.
The book centres on Kitty, who is waiting on tenterhooks for news from her husband Chris who is fighting in France. His cousin Jenny is staying at the house with Kitty, keeping her calm and helping her out around the house.
However, one day a woman named
...more
Bradley
Written during WWI, I honestly thought this would be more about the war, but no, we get a sneaky peek into the inner workings of a man who came home, shell-shocked, only to find himself in an untenable position.

What? Has his wife left him for another man? No. He seems to have another kind of problem. ED? No, no, no... MEMORY LOSS. Sheesh. People.

Seriously though, this is a great snapshot of a time when so many men were voiceless. Indeed, as seen through the three women in his life... his wife,
...more
Puck
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of emotional, moving short stories
"The truth’s the truth,” she said, "and he must know it."

4,5 stars. Rebecca West comes for your heart with this short novella and it is so beautifully done, it almost makes up for the pain I am now feeling.

In just 90 pages an aching and moving story about love unfolds, set in 1916 - World War I is a constant dark spectre hiding in the corner. We meet soldier Chris Baldry, who returns home from the Front with amnesia. He believes he is 15 years younger and still in love with (lower class)
...more
John_Dishwasher John_Dishwasher
West uses an unusual and accidental love triangle to show us just how much we sacrifice to society when we follow its lures, fall into its entrapments, and allow it to dictate how we live. Prestige and refinement, possessions and wealth come at a cost; a cost that can smother the eternal youth that exists inside us. Because, it does still exist inside us, West shows -- It’s just suppressed by the world. Due to a war injury, the protagonist of this story is granted a temporary mental reprieve fro ...more
Adam Dalva
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good novella - it strikes me as the platonic ideal of an Ian McEwan star-crossed love novel with a surprising dab of Salinger. Dismissed for far too long, this is a quick and compelling read with three moments of memorable beauty. Margaret is an all-timer of a character and the moment of her meeting with Chris is extraordinary (to avoid spoilers, I can't really talk about the plot at all. There is essentially one plot move in this book, and it's a cliche, yes, but it's worth finding for ...more
Nigeyb
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A spellbinding novel that is both ingenious and gorgeous.

Aspects of The Return of the Soldier remind me of the wonderful A Month in the Country by J.L. Carr, one of my all time favourite books. Both are ostensibly about shellshock, both are short novels which pack a mighty punch, both feature a powerful love affair, and both reveal so much about the human condition.

Published in 1918, when Rebecca West was a mere 26 years old, The Return of the Soldier is about the return of a shellshocked sold
...more
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Cicely Isabel Fairfield, known by her pen name Rebecca West, or Dame Rebecca West, DBE was an English author, journalist, literary critic, and travel writer. A prolific, protean author who wrote in many genres, West was committed to feminist and liberal principles and was one of the foremost public intellectuals of the twentieth century. She reviewed books for The Times, the New York Herald Tribun ...more

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“Embraces do not matter; they merely indicate the will to love and may as well be followed by defeat as victory. But disregard means that now there needs to be no straining of the eyes, no stretching forth of the hands, no pressing of the lips, because theirs is such a union that they are no longer aware of the division of their flesh.” 15 likes
“It's my profession to bring people from various outlying districts of the mind to the normal. There seems to be a general feeling it's the place where they ought to be. Sometimes I don't see the urgency myself.” 13 likes
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