A Soldier of the Great War [ A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR BY Helprin, Mark ( Author ) Jun-01-2005[ A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR [ A SOLDIER OF THE GREAT WAR BY HELPRIN, MARK ( AUTHOR ) JUN-01-2005 ] By Helprin, Mark ( Author )Jun-01-2005 Paperback Paperback – 1 Jun 2005
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A Soldier of the Great War From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War inte... Full description
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Top Customer Reviews
What will stick in your mind each time you put the book down are the compelling characters. Helprin has concoted a wonderful cast to populate the world of his protagonist, Alessandro Giuliani. From the mad dwarf Orfeo, to the Austrian princess hidden from sight, even the smallest characters in the book will leave an indelible imprint on your memory. They seem like real people, and that's hard for any writer to bring off consistently. Helprin manages it effortlessly.
If you've come this far in the amazon.com site, you're obviously considering reading this book. Do it. You won't be disappointed.
Some books rely on the scene setting to drag you along "ever hopeful" , some seem to perk up in the mid-riff and others entice one with the closing chapters and the "resolution". Here, I was picked up and carried along, constantly both satisfied and wanting more. I am unable to imagine a better conclusion to the story and have been left wondering what the heck I am going to read now.
Mark, you have given me great pleasure and now, untold grief!
This is a book who's time will come as people who have read it, recover and start to tell others. And all because a boy was late for a bus......
It covers the various adventures of a dashing young Italian around the time of WW1, including foolhardy student capers, colourful romantic entanglements, shocking combat scenes, dramatic mountaineering experiences, terrifying brushes with death and an epic love story, all told by an ageing man walking along a road having missed his bus. Some of the characters and episodes are a bit too surreal and uneven for some tastes, but the overall effect takes the breath away.
I am fascinated by turn-of-the-century Europe and the Great War, and Mark Helprin managed to lock into my mind and take me back to that period. Unlike others whose only critique was the slow build-up, I couldn't get enough of the long journey that Alessandro and Nicolo embarked upon. Alessandro was in the Great War and I hung on his every word and memory.
This book is powerful and moving. Helprin, through Alessandro, pleads with us to remember all of the soldiers who lie under the white crosses. Their lives were meaninglessly thrown away, but we have the power to restore meaning just by remembering them. The ending of this book is so perfect that I wanted to cry but I was too awestruck by the beauty and the power and the meaning of the book as a whole.
I was introduced to him by an American academic and have now read all his novels.
It's wonderful. A love story, a story of friendship a story of the war in the Alps. The characters are amazing, the prose is luminous.
Try it you will not be disappointed.
At first, the walk is about persistence - walking to a distant destination. But as Nicolò is stirred from complacence into curiosity, the walk becomes Alessandro's story of the Great War.
`There's nothing to tell about a war unless you tell how it began.'
Before the war, Alessandro lives a comparatively privileged life with his parents and his sister. He is a student of aesthetic theories, learning to experience many different aspects of life. And then the war intervenes. Alessandro's experience of war is complete: he is a soldier, a hero, a deserter and a prisoner. Each of these experiences has shaped him, and provides insights into the nature of war. The overwhelming sense was on successive losses: innocence; pride; belief and perhaps of love. Returning to Italy after the war, Alessandro finds that everyone he loves is either dead or vanished.
But the focus of the novel is not so much on disillusionment but on overcoming it. In Alessandro's world, it is possible to find beauty and joy in life almost anywhere. The strongest image for me is the one in which Alessandro looking into a marble quarry at night where men are splitting marble to make gravestones for the Italian dead.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is no accident that the hero of this novel, Alessandro Giuliani, is a student of aesthetics. Mark Helprin sees the beauty of this world and he is at his best when describing it. Read morePublished 17 months ago by lordvalumart
Please make this (and all other books by Mark Helprin) available in the UK for the kindle.
... our friends in the USA can get them.
This has to be my favourite book, I couldn't put it down. The story meanders through an atrocious war with all the futility apparent but with such sensitivity and beauty that is... Read morePublished on 2 May 2014 by Gill
I loved this book the first time around and thought so much of it that I gave my copy to someone else but I wanted to still have a copy in my library. Read morePublished on 20 May 2013 by C. Chessell
This book is long. As in 700-odd pages long. I'm pleased to say I devoured every one, and with my impatience that makes it an engaging story, to say the least. Read morePublished on 18 Oct. 2012 by Robert Davies
Never was I MORE RELIEVED to be done with reading a book as I was with this one. This tale, in which Alessandro Giuliani, an aging First World War veteran in his dotage, speaks... Read morePublished on 25 Oct. 2011 by KOMET
This is without a doubt the best book I have ever read, the story has many layers and opens up like a flower petal after petal. Read morePublished on 10 Feb. 2011 by CORIN MEYER
On a par with Birdsong (from seb faulks), loved every minute could not put it down, and now need to find something similar to carry onPublished on 25 Oct. 2010 by P. Yates