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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
That said, it can get downright tricky at times, with a narrative voice that switches from the present to the past (told in the present tense), shooting further to the past (told in the past tense, then switching to the present tense). Then you flash to the mid-futu ...more
This synopsis wouldn't generally sell a book to me but the story is told with such insight and empathy that I recommend it wholeheartedly.
The life of this Sergeant ...more
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 ...more
Alfred Day is a decent man but somewhat tongue-tied when it com ...more
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 intrusiv ...more
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 ...more
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...more
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 ...more