Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

VINE VOICEon 27 November 2011
Ghosts by Daylight is less a book about war than author Janine Di Giovanni's struggles to adapt to life without the frontline. It is not always an easy read and the author can come across as being just as self-centred and tiresome as she does brilliant and courageous. The book seemingly mirror her flaws and unless one sees it - and in effect her life - in its totality, parts of it can seem overblown. In particular the way in which she writes about motherhood would seem at times suggest that she is the only woman in the world to experience the confusion of emotions that come with rearing children. Indeed I found some of these passages irritating and lacking self-awareness. But then few mothers have spent their lives travelling from the frontline of one humanitarian crisis to another, so who am I to possibly judge?

The most powerful passages deal with life on the frontline, notably in the book's closing pages when she returns to Sarajevo. These sections are too scarce and there is a sense that we are only getting the briefest of glimpses of the horrors she has seen and experienced. And yet we are often left with the sense that motherhood and marriage have been more difficult for her to deal with than mayhem and carnage in warzones.

This is a complex, slightly flawed book but one which probably reflects the life and personality of its author. Certainly it is worth perservering with.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 22 October 2011
Through a loosely told chronology, the story flits between present realities and past memories. Both are littered with the horror of war; the civil kind. In essence though, it is about two people caught up in the journalism of war and other conflicts. It's hard enough to be normal in such circumstances. When love enters the picture, it is a wonder that such emotion erupts at all, let alone survives. This story is therefore about such a thing; love in the midst of war and conflict. It is a moving story. I found the structure of the writing slightly irritating; the oscillation between the present and the past. For that reason alone, four stars.

Ian Hunter.
Author of The Early Years,E-Love,E-Dreams,E-World,Three Interludes,Love's Anatomy Conversations.Pets: An Adults' Tale

P.S. For Ian Hunter, the author and reviewer, page 240 perhaps carries his epitaph: 'people who deeply love each other cannot always live together; this is the real sadness of life'. It is certainly the enduring sadness of mine in this turbulent year, 2011.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 April 2012
This book is a scattered-brained mess of a memoir. It talks about the author's experiences of war, and her subsequent life as a housewife/mother in seemingly random flashbacks, in no discernible order. She settles in Paris, then she is in Sarajejevo under siege, then her child is three, then she is pregnant... She must have had an editor but I can't imagine what he was thinking by having the book constructed in such a confusing fashion.

The parts about war are raw, intense, and very good. The parts about love, pregnancy, birth, life in Paris etc are frankly boring and not particularly different than the experiences of most women. I'm sure it all felt very exceptional to the author, but miscarriages, pregnancy, weak cervix, then breastfeeding etc are fairly common, garden variety experiences many of us go through and we really didn't need to know about hers. The way she glorifies Bruno is also quite perplexing - he doesn't sound like a great catch, from the beginning when he courts her while in a long term relationship with another woman, and must have been amazed at his luck when the author started worshipping him as if he were a minor deity.

If she wrote only about her experiences as a war reporter, this would have been a very good book. As it is, it is only a 3-star: "It was OK".
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 October 2011
This is not a book solely about war and it is not a book solely about Di Giovanni's life as a war corespondent. It is a book about life and the struggles that make life what it is. Although not everyone will experience the same emotions, fears, risks, hopes as the author, most everyone can take away some piece of what it means to be alive in this day and time. As a psychologist and a coach who works with many people who strive to make their life meaningful and powerful, I recommend this book as an example of one woman's story of courage, strength, beauty, love and vulnerability. I also recommend this book as a story of being honest about who you are. If you are looking for the details of war, read a different book. If you want a story about living an authentic life no matter what your situation, you will be moved. Beautiful and powerful are the words I would use to describe Di Giovanni's memoir. Bravo
0Comment| 2 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 14 April 2012
Well, just finished this vaguely autobiographical novel, and on the whole I enjoyed the read. The story describes the life and travails of a war correspondent, traumatised from covering wars in the Balkans and Africa. Rich descriptions of community devastation intermingle with sections covering the protagonist's marriage and motherhood, living in Paris.

There are truly moving moments, especially around love and loss, and di Giovanni writes well about war (she was foreign correspondent for The Times). Passages noting the impact of conflict on victims AND observers are well done, but I never truly connected with the domestic world back home presented here. The book did irritate me in places - all those nannies! All that Parisian cuisine and uber-Bohemian living (albeit with added angst)! Puffs on the back cover of my paperback edition, from The Daily Telegraph, Tatler, and Economist, confirm the market for this book . And the narrative is confusing at times, with flashbacks easily mistaken for current events.

An intriguing read, but unless you're keenly aspirational, your sympathy for the protagonist may be stretched at times.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 November 2012
I loved the intensity of this book, its rawness and honesty. It's a book about love, war and motherhood. It's about the horrors of war and the horrors of love. It tells you that you may get terribly hurt, and that you'll never really get over that hurt, although there are moments or eben months of bliss and happiness. I think Janine di Giovanni is driven, she'll never stop being a war correspondent. And correspondent only because this is the only acceptable modern form of being in a war, other than as a soldier. But as I read it, she needs to be close to the existential situation of war. Only in war does she really seem to be truly alive - and this is also when the book is at comes into its own. I'm not sure about all the motherhood stuff, I think that was another frontier she had to cross but whether it made her happy? Anyway, that's for her to decide. In any case this book is a triumph of really grasping life by its collar and shaking it as violently as you can. Read it!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 January 2013
Janine di Giovanni is a wonderful writer and a brave woman. This book differs, I believe, from most of her work as it is a personal story rather than reports from the battlefield and killing places of the world. If you have ever wondered how being a war reporter of photographer affects the person then this is a book for you as it tells of her attempts and her husband's attempts to live a 'normal' life together with their child. It's no secret that they don't succeed completely. Di Giovanni's account of their efforts made me wish that I'd had the restraint to read her other work earlier so that i could put this in the context of her life more accurately. Certainly something for the non-brave stay-at-home to read.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 April 2012
As an admirer of Janine di Giovanni's writing in Marie Claire and other magazines/newspapers, I expected this book to be good, and it is. She writes compellingly of her experiences as a mother, wife and reporter, at home in Paris and at work in war zones. Her love for her husband Bruno is clearly very deep, but coping with his alcoholism ultimately defeats them both. This book is an honest account of a life lived to the full, many times dangerously so, and she writes movingly of her emotions and experiences. It's a cliche, but I really couldn't put it down.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 July 2011
A moving account of writer Janine di Giovanni's life as she settles down in Paris. Nothing is easy as her life changes from being a war correspondent to a mother. She writes very honestly about her marriage breakdown - what started with strong and passionate love in war zones becomes impossible to sustain in safe Paris.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 3 August 2011
As someone who suffered from trauma, I was deeply moved by Janine's book. Although she writes about her life, I felt as though she wrote about mine. Janine's book gave me new insights, led me to new questions and offered new answers. It touched me in ways I never expected. I read the book in one night, amidst tears and laughter. Ghosts by Daylight filled me with hope and courage.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse