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Forest Of The Hanged
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1001 book reviews > Forest of the Hanged by Liviu Rebreanu

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message 1: by Diane (last edited Aug 11, 2018 10:30AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane | 1974 comments Rating: 4+ stars

A young Romanian military officer during WWI is caught between loyalty for his native country and his sense of duty for the country he is fighting for (Austria-Hungary). He enters the war in order to impress a woman he is in love with, not realizing what lies ahead. Events that take place cause him to reexamine his values and conscience.

This book is strong on multiple levels: Strong character development, a descriptive atmosphere, good pacing, and a thought-provoking topic. I love finding gems like this on the list.

message 2: by Liz M (last edited Jun 12, 2020 05:45AM) (new) - added it

Liz M | 194 comments Why it is on the 1001 list: "Forest of the Hanged is the first psychological novel of Romanian literature.... {It} is a war testimony of universal relevance that still makes a strong impression on the modern reader."

Set on the Eastern front of WWI, the novel opens with a vivid description of the preparations for the hanging of a soldier caught deserting. The protagonist, Apostol Bologa, had been a member of the jury and is with the company witnessing the event. Bologa is secure in his duty, but the reaction of another officer plants a seed of doubt in his mind. He begins questioning. When he gets word that his company is to be sent to the Romanian front where, as an officer in the Austro-Hungarian forces, he will be expected to fight and kill his countrymen, his misgivings grow into debilitations and, finally, inevitable actions.

I struggled with this book, enthralled by the descriptive passages and engaged in the events, but could barely pay attention to the the necessary, plodding personal history and the the philosophical dithering.

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