Top positive review
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SUPERB EVOCATION OF THE GREAT WAR
on 17 March 2013
Thomas Keneally has created a rich tapestry of characters and events in this superb novel. I'm now reading (in the Kindle version) the final quarter, but whatever happens in this last section of the book will not change my view that this is worth every one of the 5 stars I've awarded. The characters become firmly etched in the mind as one reads this book, especially Naomi and Sally, and Keneally really captures the essence of the times, with the mores of human relationships particularly well addressed, despite the horrors surrounding the protagonists. The focus on those who are just behind the front line, dealing with the terrible results of mechanised warfare, has been a revelation but no less horrific seen through the eyes of the doctors and nurses tending the wounded and dying. The reality of Owen's '..guttering, choking, drowning..' victims of gas attacks is brought home as we hear how they had to be treated, and how many did not survive. I did struggle with his use of language at first until I realised he is writing as someone would have written contemporaneously with the events he is portraying. Truly a masterwork!