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Birdsong Audio Cassette – Abridged, Audiobook

4.4 out of 5 stars 864 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Random House Audiobooks; Abridged edition edition (Jun. 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1856863557
  • ISBN-13: 978-1856863551
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 3.2 x 13.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (864 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,129,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Readers who are entranced by sweeping historical sagas will devour Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks' drama set during the first world war. There's even a little high-toned erotica thrown into the mix to convince the doubtful. The book's hero, a 20-year-old Englishman named Stephen Wraysford, finds his true love on a trip to Amiens in 1910. Unfortunately, she's already married, the wife of a wealthy textile baron. Wrayford convinces her to leave a life of passionless comfort to be at his side, but things do not turn out according to plan. Wraysford is haunted by this doomed affair and carries it with him into the trenches of the war. Birdsong derives most of its power from its descriptions of mud and blood, and Wraysford's attempt to retain a scrap of humanity while surrounded by it. There is a simultaneous description of his present-day granddaughter's quest to read his diaries, which is designed to give some sense of perspective; this device is only somewhat successful. Nevertheless, Birdsong is a rewarding read, an unflinching war story and a touching romance. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

- "With "Birdsong" Faulks has produced a mesmerizing story of love and war... This book is so powerful that as I finished it I turned to the front to start again." --"Sunday Express" - "Engrossing, moving, and unforgettable." --"The Times""From the Trade Paperback edition."

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I read Birdsong about 14 years ago, when it was first published in paperback; it must have impressed me because it stayed on my bookshelf rather than being passed on. This second reading has reminded me why I kept it - it has to be one of the most haunting novels I've ever read, and it kept me reading well into the small hours! The early chapters deal with a love affair in which the author so clearly recreates the sense of overwhelming desire and reckless behaviour that accompanies true passion. This, however, is only the start of Stephen Wraysford's story, for we soon move on to his involvement as a young officer in the First World War and this, for me, is what makes the novel such an amazing work. Knowing that the fiction was based on real events, together with the vivid descriptions, makes the story so very moving. It's not just a chronicle of events though, Sebastian Faulks is a master of detail, which makes the readers feel they're actually there, in the mud of Flanders - there were times when I too held my breath and envisaged how the fear must have felt. The penultimate chapter was so moving, it reduced me to tears and this, for me, is unusual! Reading and remembering the words of old men from my childhood, it's hard to believe that little more than 20 years later, man embarked on a Second World War and, after both those events, it seems incredible that man has still not learned his lesson! I would urge everyone to read this novel, and if you've already done so, then read it again!
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Format: Hardcover
This a such a powerful war novel.
I will justify this statement, not by repeating the things other people have said but through highlighting just one passage that really moved me.
This is when Michael Weir - Stephen Wraysford's closest wartime friend - goes home on leave to his parents in Leamington Spar. Weir has experienced death, squalor, disease, and utter degredation in the trenches. Yet his family cannot understand or respond when he tries to convey these experiences to them. It is beyond their imagination - as it is ours - that men could tolerate such conditions. Instead we see his parents treating him as if he has just been up to town for the week. They rebuke him, for example, for not telling them exactly the time he would be arriving. His mother fusses over him like a child: "You look a bit thin, Michael. What have they been feeding you on over in France?" You sense Weir's desperation as he realises that he cannot communicate any of the reality of the war to his family. This is so moving and heart-wrending. One can really believe that it was like that for so many men and their families when the war, for the British people, was "over there".
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Format: Unknown Binding
I have now read this book 4 times. Each time I read it, I find something new, and I feel a sense of sadness every time I reach the end.
This book has everything - romance and passion at the start, contrasting with the horrors of the Somme battlefield, and a link with the present day.
I learnt a great deal about how WW1 was fought - the descriptions of how both sides dug tunnels underground and lay mines under enemy lines was a revelation to me. Inspired by this book, I have since visited the Somme area and seen the remnants of some of the huge craters created by these explosions, and the thought of what it must have been like to live in a world where they were frequent occurrences is terrifying.
Faulks's writing style is beautiful yet highly readable, and the power of the story is what really carries this book along and makes one unable to put it down. Even if you are not particularly enthralled by WW1 history, read this book as a fine piece of modern literature and a darn good story...
Persevere through the first section to reach the part about the war - the brilliance of the book lies in the way it conveys what life was like for the men who suffered in WW1.
Please read this book - you will not regret it and you may, like me, find a book which changes your outlook on life.
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By A Customer on 16 Jan. 2001
Format: Paperback
Birdsong is set during the 1st World War and despite being a story, its historial and geographical content is accurate.
It tells the story of Stephen Wraysford and the events that shape his life. Starting in pre-war France and moving on in time, it deals with Stephen's experiences in love and war. The novel incorporates Stephen's friendship with Michael Weir, a fellow soldier and also includes the stories of other soldiers that fight alongside them.
This is a graphic and detailed novel. Faulks describes in detail the events that these soldiers lived through on a daily basis. Despite the disturbing nature of some of these scenes, the novel is so beautifully and cleverly written that it is compulsive.
Faulks ties in the events of Stephen Wraysford during the First World War to modern life with the quest of Stephen's Grandaughter, Elizabeth, to trace her past and seek out what happened to her Grandfather. She does this when she discovers the journals that her Grandfather wrote during the war.
The novel is structured so that it moves forward and back in time and reminds the reader of the benefits we have today because of the sacrifices made by so many men.
It is a poignant and moving novel and one which brings home the realities and the true atrocities that the soldiers of the First World War suffered. Once read, it will never be forgotten.
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