Book Review: “A Broken World: Letters, Diaries and Memories of the Great War” (2014), eds. Sebastian Faulks and Hope Wolf

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Thanks to the centenary I have caught the WWI bug and I have started working my way through Great War literature. After Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, I figured it was time for a non-fiction account and decided on this collection of letters and diaries, edited by Sebastian Faulks and Hope Wolf. The selection is varied, including not just British documents but also German, Russian, and Indian voices, plenty of women (much appreciated!), and mostly “ordinary people” with the occasional familiar name thrown in (Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, D.H. Lawrence, and so on). The fragments are not in chronological order, but have been organised by place and theme instead: ‘Hearing and imagining from afar’, ‘experience at close quarters’, ‘how the war divided us’, and ‘searching for what is lost.’ We get stories from all over Europe, ranging from published articles to letters from loved ones.

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Book Review: “The Rainbow” (1915) by D.H. Lawrence

A picture I took of Church Cottage in Cossall.

A picture I took of Church Cottage in Cossall.

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When I was on holiday in the UK this summer, me and my family paid a visit to the birth house of D.H. Lawrence at my request. I had read Lady Chatterley’s Lover once a number of years ago and couldn’t remember that much about it other than that I thought it was a bit weird and that I didn’t really like, but on a two-week trip deprived of any other literary value, I figured I’d take what I could get. The tiny museum and its enthusiastic guide rekindled my interest and inspired me to give Lawrence another try. After all, I’d come around to Virginia Woolf in a big way, so maybe Lawrence could win me over as well now that I had some more reading under my belt. I wasn’t without my reservations though; one word that I have often come across in connection to Lawrence was “misogyny.” Still, my aunt recommended The Rainbow to me and in the spirit of “well, when in Nottinghamshire,” I started reading it right away.

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