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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrible Beauty, 24 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Return of the Brute (Paperback)
I have studied WWI fiction and nonfiction for a long time. I have read all the classics, both in English and in other languages: Sassoon, Juenger, Lussu, Blunden, Hemingway, Graves, Dorgeles, Manning, etc. I discovered this book casually, just because it was in an exhibition at the Trinity College Library in Dublin. Well, it's simply the best. Powerful, bleak, a real nightmare which however manages to tell it all. It's a stunning book, written with a masterful style, a book that does not hide anything, written with an impressive lack of moralistic restraint, where fear, meanness, horror, madness are described the way they are. O'Flaherty is so sensitive to all the psychological nuances (he was shell-shocked like the protagonist) that he gets closer to later, disinhibited war narratives of W.W.II such as Heller's Catch-22 and Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse 5, or to Vietnam war narratives. All in all, I think it's the most impressive account of what war on the Western Front was, and an amazing literary achievement. It's a pity it is so neglected, but no wonder: this is a honestly, declaredly, unashamedly anti-war book, and it shows war for the horrible and revolting and disgraced thing it really is.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brute Creation, 28 Jan. 2010
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This review is from: Return of the Brute (Paperback)
A sombre and deeply affecting evocation of the Great War. The story charts the mental breakdown of a British soldier, revealing the beast in man behind the civilised veneer.
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Return of the Brute
Return of the Brute by Liam O'Flaherty (Paperback - 31 Mar. 1998)
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