Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

106
4.2 out of 5 stars
Strange Meeting
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£6.74+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

32 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 22 April 2007
I read this in year 11 (please dont be put off in any way by my age) at school and was completely blown away by it. Seriously-you HAVE to read this. The relationship is so emotional that you will find it difficult to put the book down. I wouldn't say this about any random book. The ending is so sad i cried for an hour.

DONT let this put you off-you HAVE TO READ IT!

My favorite WW1 book (so far...!)
55 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 October 2014
This is a look at First World War trench warfare from the point of view of two young officers, John Hilliard and David Barton. They are quite different in temperament, Hilliard being rather formal and stiff and reluctant to reveal himself in a friendship. Barton is open, friendly and well-disposed to all, giving others the benefit of the doubt. Watching their deep friendship unfold is one of the joys of this story. I also enjoyed seeing Hilliard, whose own family wrote to him in short and stiff letters, being enfolded by his friend’s family who began to write directly to him, too.

I found great difficulty in enjoying the writing style. It was full of run-on sentences and comma splices which made for jerky reading. I’m sure this was deliberate but I have no idea why it was done and I found it so awkward that at times I lost the sense of the story. Frustrating.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Having read Birdsong, I didn't think any novel could get close to the emotional intensity of Stephen Wraysford and his doomed love story. But I was wrong! Strange Meeting is shorter, different, but absorbing and hard hitting nevertheless. The characters are wonderfully drawn and you can feel the bond between these two young opposites from the start. Highly recommended.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2014
Susan Hill's writing is masterly, and, therefore, she can draw the reader along, even if the subject-matter makes one feel one wants to drag one's feet! The First World War is not a pretty or comfortable subject, but Hill creates compelling scenes, and beguiling ones, and the story of two men meeting and becoming friends unfolds. The depth of the friendship, and the nature of it, is handled delicately, as it creeps up on them, and on the reader. As one man and his family become the salvation and future of the other, we glimpse a different world, which was itself divided into the worlds of home and of war. It was a world where those at home were no more prepared to understand and accept what was really going on 'at the front', than it was prepared to entertain the idea of relationships outside of what it designated 'the norm'.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a short novel, easily read in a couple of hours, but one where the number of pages belies the depth of anguish and emotion which is contained within it. Set during the first years of the Western Front, this brings together all the squalor, the hardship, the antiquated tactics and the almost impossible number of deaths that took place each day.

And yet, at its heart, this is also a book about intimacy, about fellowship and companionship, about the ties that bind people in love even (or especially?) under the most unpropitious circumstances.

Hill always writes with a lucid restraint and a beautifully pared back style that means her highly-crafted writing disappears into the story, never drawing attention to itself. Emotionally acute and very human, this makes the tragedy of war fresh all over again.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 19 October 2010
A book about relationships, family and friendship during the 1914-18 war. The book, though a novel, describes life and experiences, as I would imagine life might have been in the trenches. Having only just finished this book I'm still absorbing what I've read and am about to read it again more thoughtfully.Gripping
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 16 August 2014
Susan Hill writes well as usual but this is a story of unmitigating gloom, very slow moving. It might be better received by someone younger who know little about conditions for infantry soldiers in WW1. Why does the cover show soldiers in modern combat dress?
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
STRANGE MEETING, by Susan Hill.

I really enjoyed this. At first with lingering doubts. After all, the story is set on the battle fields of France, WW1. Would the descriptive power, of the author, do justice to the horrendous condtions, and awful carnage endured by the soldiers in the Trenches. And, yes, it must certainly does.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the story. Two Officers John Hilliard and David Barton form an almost unspoken bond, during their time in the Trenches. The backgrounds of these two are very different. And compensate for the lack of emotion and togetherness as a family, that John experiences with his own personal life.
There is always the looming threat of going into battle. As the story unfolds, John and Hilliard are moved further and further up to the front line of fighting. Powerless to be able to control events John becomes obsessive in his fear that David will be killed.
The ending suggests the reason why David - by fortune perhaps, or destiny - becomes part of John's life.
The story always moves forward. But not at the extent that the empathy shared between John and David is under valued.
Finally, the one scene that will stay with me. Hilliard is on the train leaving for the Front. He looks out of the window as the train is slowly departing from the station. His Mother is standing there, in her fine clothes, aloof despite trying to show some emotion at the departure of her Son. Who may never return alive. Yet neither she nor John wave. She stands immobile as the train picks up speed and is finally lost in the distance.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Susan Hill was in her late twenties when she wrote this remarkable novel. In under, two hundred pages, she conveys a huge range of emotions connected with men fighting and dying in the carnage of the First World War -a seriously impressive achievement for a writer so young when she undertook the project.

The story centres around two characters: Hilliard - an initially withdrawn and scarred soldier about to return to the Western Front, and Barton - cheery, strangely optimistic, an in the moment optimist, yet to be touched by the experience of war. A deep friendship grows between the men, and this is the focus for the story that unfolds. It is deeply moving on many levels, and the story is as much about friendship and humanity as it about war, carnage and suffering. As a book, Hill achieves an incredible sense of atmosphere and emotion in such a short book.

In a telling afterward (published in the Penguin edition I read), Hill reveals that after she wrote Strange Meeting she felt she had laid to rest her obessions with the First World War. It's an interesting and powerful review of a book she feels she was compelled to write, and adds much to the context of the story she tells. First published in 1971, Strange Meeting is almost a forerunner of a clutch of fine fiction that was to emerge that tells us much about the terrible conflicy between 1914-1918. It deserves to be read and appreciated widely as we remember the centenary. Undoubtedly one of the finest pieces of fiction to be crafted about the war and the impact it had on people. Stunning, beautifully written, and produced with a respect and understanding of a terrible period of history that few writers manage to convey.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 14 December 2013
Finally, the Kindle version has been published! I initially read this novel as part of WW1 studies for English Literature and decided to re-read the story which has haunted me ever since.

We begin with John Hilliard, a restrained soldier currently on convalescence from the Front and how he feels out of place in the domestic, peaceful settings of his once familiar home. Communicating with his family is hard; it is difficult to convey what is truthfully occurring beyond the British newspapers and he wants more than anything to return to the Front where everything is simple, understood by other veterans.

Among the new faces introduced to Hilliard's battalion is that of David Barton, a slightly younger man who freely shares his feelings and opinions with the others. Untouched by the trauma of war and the misery it breeds, Hilliard and his comrades are drawn towards Barton - and Hilliard more so, when he suddenly finds an outlet for his roiling emotions, as well as a friend he will cherish for life.

Although many readers have criticised the narrative for its distant emotions, I felt that the novel was just right, precisely measured, in the way it portrayed the characters and described the obscenities of war. At times it does become stiff with its constant use of affirmatives ("yes"), but the emptiness of the people walking through such vivid landscape is painfully clear to the reader who is struggling to know who they are.

I don't believe, like some, that this novel is about a gay romance. I had my suspicions when I read this novel ten years ago, back as a student, but now, as an older, and hopefully wiser, adult, I see this friendship between Hilliard and Barton as strictly that: a friendship. In stressful times, the unlikeliest people come together and share their thoughts and emotions, and just because two men happen to do this in a war does not mean that the two of them are closet homosexuals. As a person similar to Hilliard, I can understand how such friendships can come about with people like Barton. If you keep things to yourself because you have nothing in common with others or feel that they won't understand what you mean, and you suddenly find a Barton willing to listen, to tease you out of your shell, and still stick around, despite your social awkwardness, then of course you will feel like Hilliard is feeling. But that isn't gay!

Wholeheartedly, I would recommend this story to anyone with an interest in WW1, though it isn't a historic account by any means; it is merely a representation.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
All Quiet on the Western Front
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque (Paperback - 3 Jan. 1996)
£5.99

Regeneration (Regeneration Trilogy)
Regeneration (Regeneration Trilogy) by Pat Barker (Paperback - 1 May 2008)
£6.74

The Mist In The Mirror
The Mist In The Mirror by Susan Hill (Paperback - 2 Sept. 1999)
£3.85
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.