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Private Angelo (Canongate Classics): 9 Paperback – 23 Jun 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd; New Ed edition (23 Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862413761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862413767
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 486,164 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"He writes not only of an angel, but like one . . . "Private Angelo" is now a permanent portrait in the heavenly gallery of human frailty." --"Observer"

About the Author

Eric Linklater's memories of Orkney and student life informed his first novel, "White Maa's Saga" (1929), while the success of "Poet's Pub" in the same year led him to take up writing as a full-time career. A hilarious satirical novel, "Juan in America" (1931), followed his American trip, while the equally irreverent" Magnus Merrimen" (1934) was based on his experience as a Nationalist candidate for a by-election in East Fife.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Private Angelo is an Italian who fears he lacks the dono di coraggio (the gift of courage) yet he fights in three armies, unwillingly perhaps, and learns eventually that he is indeed courageous. This story follows his life as a young man towards the end of WW2 and finishes with him as a lover, husband and father to a tribe of children, some of whom are his, as the war in Europe ends.
This story was written just after the end of WW2 in 1946, it is written in beautiful English and is very engaging. It is a satire, a comedy but, at the same time, a moral story about the futility of war and how individuals of one nation interact with individuals of another nation at a time of conflict. I enjoyed it when I first read it some 50-odd years ago so I bought it so I could enjoy the story again.
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Format: Paperback
Eric Linklater's Private Angelo lacks military courage, but finishes the war with two wives and three children fathered by other men. He serves with the Italian, German and British Armies and seeks to desert each with varying degrees of success. At one stage he fled his British patrol on the back of an ox. Linklater's economic prose keeps the reader absorbed and entertained. The writing crosses boundaries of satire, farce, romance and tragedy. This book is a gripping read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The main protagonist is a relentless coward and all round ar*e, I found him to have no redeeming characteristics whatsoever! I didn't find the book funny or entertaining but the relentless idiocy of one man who does all he can to save himself at the expense of others. On the other hand my book club loved it....so I combined their 5 stars with my 1 star and came out at a 3
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Format: Paperback
Plot: The cowardly Private Angelo has deserted the Second World War but unfortunately it has no intention of letting him go.

This is rather an odd sort of book. It is ostensibly a comic novel, and is indeed often quite funny, but contains many tragic sequences, which are handled with aplomb. It contains, and I feel odd just writing this, perhaps the most lightly handled rape scene in any novel I've ever read. And yet - for a novel with death, secret police and rape - this is quite a funny book. Heaven knows how it works - but it does.

Mr Linklater's pen covers a wide range of the war, from village life to scheming aristocrats in Rome. From cheerful American drivers ("Hiya, toots!") to dashing British special forces to German soldiers carrying out collective punishment to wild French Colonial soldiers (the infamous Goums). There are battles, intrigues, love, cowardice and lots of pregnant women.

This book tends towards the amusing more than the hilarious and casts a fond eye on the Italians, demonstrating their good and their bad qualities. He was well positioned to do this, having served in the Italian Campaign of World War II, about which he later wrote a history book (this novel was originally published in 1946 and was written with the war ongoing). His characters are very human, his situations authentic and his writing vivid.
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