4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A Compassionate story of Guilt and Jealousy,
This review is from: The World My Wilderness (Paperback)
A beautiful and evocative story of two children's unsettled lives just after the Second World War in both France and Britain. One is aware throughout this book of the veneer of civilisation on the brink of collapse despite the `old school' trying to carry on usual. The atmosphere of Post-war Britain is evoked perfectly
Deeply affected by their exciting, peripheral activities with the Maquis in France the children become naughty and wicked, adept at pulling the wool over adults' eyes. In London, where they are sent to be supposedly smartened up and civilised, they ingenuously slip through the cracks of normality; lying, stealing and searching for their lost happiness in France where they were wild and free. Assuming things were the same in blitzed London as in France, they endanger their lives by living out a totally secret existence in an underworld peopled by deserters and small-time criminals at loose in the bombed-out sites of London.
Barbary tortures herself throughout with the guilty knowledge of her step father's drowning in France, carried out by the Maquis, which she could have prevented. In her soul she knows she let her father down.
This is a touching, atmospheric tale of a precocious seventeen-year-old lost in the world of adults and still needing the reassurances of childhood. It is today a possibly rather dated picture that can nevertheless still be related to those `young-at-sea' in our own - far from perfect - 21st Century.