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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, moving story set during the Battle of Britain
I read “That Summer” by Andrew Greig just over a year ago now and it still haunts me. This is a beautiful, beautiful book which adeptly recaptures a time which has long since passed. Told in the first person narrative of the two central characters, a young RAF Hurricane pilot and his girlfriend, Greig’s novel has an immediacy which is truly spellbinding...
Published on 23 April 2003 by Smithy

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Young love during WWII
Sadly, I did not enjoy this book as much as other reviewers. I found the short chapters too abrupt and frequently did not know which narrator was speaking. One reviewer recommends the audio version which would obviously solve the latter problem.

The story is told by 22yr old Len, a Hurricane pilot during the time of the Battle of Britain, and his 23yr old beau,...
Published on 8 April 2007 by DubaiReader


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, moving story set during the Battle of Britain, 23 April 2003
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I read “That Summer” by Andrew Greig just over a year ago now and it still haunts me. This is a beautiful, beautiful book which adeptly recaptures a time which has long since passed. Told in the first person narrative of the two central characters, a young RAF Hurricane pilot and his girlfriend, Greig’s novel has an immediacy which is truly spellbinding. The characters come alive to the reader with their thoughts, fears and feelings, and through this Greig makes this remote time become present. The humanity of the protagonists makes them far more accessible and “real”.
It is a poignant story but not in a weak way, indeed it is a powerfully moving book and one which will bring a tear to the eye of the most hardened reader. “That Summer” is a beautiful evocation of the turbulent summer of 1940 and one which highlights the common threads which make us human, regardless of time.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unmissable Love Story, 8 Jan 2003
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
Andrew Greig's excellent and moving novel tells the story of the relationship between an RAF pilot and a RDF ground-controller during the summer of the Battle of Britain (1940). As with all the best stories, it is far more than just this. Greig's novel looks at how we (the contemporary reader) view the past and, interestingly, how the past views us: how people in WW2 looked to the future, and imagined the world after the war: what it would be like; what they hoped it would be like.
'That Summer' is a love story (the most heart-breaking I have read in a long time) full of joy and pathos, subtle, beautifully crafted. Greig successfully evokes a time which for some readers will be very far from their world, and in evoking this time, he allows us to see some of its secrets. Always, though, it is marked off as a separate, and very special place.
The narrative frequently shifts between different first-person narratives (each of the lovers narrates different sections) and sometimes to a third-person, authorial voice, and through each of these voices Greig explores the hearts and minds of his characters. And I was left with the feeling that 'That Summer' was a novel about what it means to live - to enjoy life, while it is there, against all odds.
Although set during the Second World War, Greig's work is fiercely contemporary, and far from nostalgic. It is a novel that it is difficult not to be impressed by: compelling, thoughtful, inspiring and ultimately intensely, intensely sad.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A hauntingly sad and beautiful book, 2 Jun 2001
By 
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I finished this book this morning and have been drifting through today haunted by the images, still involved with Stella and Len, and with Maddy and Tad, still moved by the beautiful sadness of it all.There is an awful inevitability that traps the characters, the war which unremittingly takes its victims, but despite this, the love story of Len and Stella opens, flowers and deepens, and just captures the reader, so that at the close, as you look back over the years, and rummage in the hat box of Stella's memorabilia, glancing at the "silver-framed photo, gathering dust and glances through the years", the letters and the diaries, the people and the moments in time they represent, it all feels almost a part of your own life. Read and be moved.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars poignant without sappiness, 13 Aug 2002
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
This lovely book serves as a shattering reminder of the horrors that our grandparents faced in order to allow us to be so free and easy. We walk along streets and buildings that once were bombed, where people died, where people fought. It is so easy to forget that when the scars are so well hidden. I am glad that writers like Greig remind us how lucky we are.
Written as a first person narrative, but taking the views of two people, it can occasionally be confusing as you jump from one persons thoughts to another without warning. But the first person double narrative works in giving insight to two people as they fight for themselves, for us, for each other. It is a love story and a war story. You know these people. They could be you, caught up in something world changing and horrifying. It made me close my eyes and be thankful that they made these sacrifices so that I wouldn't have to.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars loved it..., 10 Jun 2006
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This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I like Andrew Grieg's poetic writing style and I loved this story. Memorable characters who stayed with me. Would have liked it to have been longer, but only because it was such a good read and I didn't want it to end. I think the author told the story he set out to, though, and did it very well. The audio version is particularly good. If you liked the story try and get hold of a copy. The reader really brings Len to life in particular.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reminds me of the debt my generation owe, 6 Jun 2006
By 
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
This is a wonderful book set in the home front in the second world war. Though I've read lots of first world war novels, and lots about the atrocities of the Holocaust, I've read very few books about what it meant to be in the forces at home, and perhaps have not thought too much about what it meant to be part of a generation who went to war, and who felt their sacrifices HAD to be done, because the alternative was too ghastly to contemplate (clearly a very different experience from the First World War)

Greig focusses on the story of a young fighter pilot and a radar operator, during the Battle of Britain, and they and their immediate friends symbolise the personal stories of a generation. This is a beautifully written book, extremely sad, but without any mawkishness. The ending is absolutely obvious right from the start of the book, but this is not a problem - it is the journey to get to that inevitable end that is the heart, not what that ending will be.

Like other reviewers I am now buying other books by Greig - he is clearly a writer who can tell a particular, individual story, and at the same time can move beyond the particular to find profound, and transcendent truths
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was there, 15 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I finished this book and was surprised to look up and see the world of 2002 was still there. I was totally gone in it, in that summer of 1940. I thought it was so true how the central characters were mostly concerned with little things right in front of them, and their love lives and friends. This could have been a history lesson or another boy's fighting book, but it isn't, it's much more true and human than that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant, 16 Sep 2007
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This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
atmospheric, haunting, I am still thinking about it months after I read it. A must if you like novels about WW2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and vivid, 19 Oct 2008
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I don't recall how this ended up on my shelf but decided to try it as a change from my recent run of fast paced stories one can pick up and put down in the midst of a frantic lifestyle. I was drawn in quickly and felt thoughtfully transported to what must have been a truly huge change in life and cultural beliefs, to have to live for now amidst the threat of war on our own shores. I'm hoping my wife will enjoy it as much as I did and bought 2 more copies for her friends! It is heartily recommended. I now fancy trying his other works too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of those books you just have to read, 27 Mar 2008
This review is from: That Summer (Paperback)
I think I bought this book one day with many others - not really paying attention to it - but as I read a lot of historical fiction I thought I would give it a go. I was amazed - the plot - the characters (whom you really come to care about and want to succeed) - the pace of the narrative was such that even when I got off my tube on the way to work - I couldn't put this book down. I rarely cry at the end of a novel and usually know when an author is trying to manipulate me - but this ending caught me by surprise - so I was unprepared for the emotional reaction I had. Please read it - travel back to the summer of 1940 on a wonderful journey.
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That Summer
That Summer by Andrew Greig (Paperback - 9 July 2001)
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