13 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Writing was nice, but the concept was spread too thin,
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This review is from: The Lie (Hardcover)
This was an idea spread too thin with not enough plot and or originality. The writing was certainly good, and where the passages handled strong emotion it was very affecting. But not enough seemed to be done with the idea.
There are two halves to the narrative: the passages set in the trenches and a later time when the character is trying to readjust to normal life, with little success. The wartime scenes are well realised, although a little meandering. But the sections back in this country are agonisingly slow. The character buries an old hermit who lives near his makeshift home, drifts around and visits the brother of his friend who was killed in France, repairs her boiler and goes for a picnic. Now some writers can invest such non-events with much meaning and resonance; the minutiae of a slow day are the journey the characters go on, or the illumination of a difficult and unimaginable life. But these didn't grab me this way. They simply seemed slow, as if they were padding so that there could be as many scenes in the post-war strand as there were in the trenches. The flashbacks to the war carry some very arresting details, but the War Poets did it better.
And there lies the problem. The Lie contains nothing new in terms of themes, treatment or ideas - although there could have been. It seems to have been written only to tick a few boxes for the 1914 anniversary.