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1914 (UK Edition) by Jean Echenoz

By Jean Echenoz

5 Frenchmen burst off to battle, of them forsaking a undeniable younger lady who longs for his or her go back. however the major personality in 1914 is the good warfare itself. Jean Echenoz, the multi–award–winning French literary magician whose paintings has been in comparison to Joseph Conrad and Lawrence Sterne, has introduced that deathtrap again to lifestyles, top us lightly from a balmy summer season day deep into the insatiable—and nonetheless unthinkable—carnage of trench warfare.
With the delicacy of a miniaturist and with irony either witty and clear–eyed, the writer bargains us an intimate epic with the ambience of a vintage motion picture: within the landscape of a transparent blue sky, a biplane spirals by surprise into the floor; a tardy piece of shrapnel shears the head off a man's head as though it have been a soft–boiled egg; we dawdle dreamily in a spring–scented clearing with a lonely shell–shocked soldier jogging innocently to a firing squad able to shoot him for desertion.
But eventually, the grace notes of humanity in 1914 upward thrust above the terrors of battle during this fantastically crafted story that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.

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Sample text

A few months later in January of 1949, Lt. Halvorsen thought of little Mercedes and Peter Zimmerman and all the children in Berlin as he flew out of Tempelhof for the very last time. It didn’t seem possible that his seven-month tour of duty in the Berlin Airlift had ended. He was sad to go, but as the clouds parted toward America he smiled, knowing his candy drops to the children would go on with the help of trusted pilot friends. What Lt. Halvorsen didn’t know that day, was that his story in Berlin wasn’t over....

Mercedes fed each chicken a worm and tried not to cry. She loved her four feathered pets, but Mama would not be happy. Eggs were more precious than gold in West Berlin during the Russian blockade. ” Walking up the bomb-splintered steps to her apartment, Mercedes was sure her white chickens were just too scared of the thundering planes of the airlift to lay their eggs. Night and day they roared overhead like huge silver birds into nearby Tempelhof Air Field to unload their supplies. But Mercedes would never complain about the great soaring grocery stores that everyone called Raisinbombers, because they carried yummy raisins to eat!

Every day, he rained down sweets on the children who cheered the planes landing on Tempelhof’s runway. As Mama read, Mercedes learned how the tall, friendly pilot had talked with these children one day at the fence near the runway’s end. “The children didn’t ask him for candy,” Mama read, “only sweet freedom. Still, before he had to go, he searched his pocket for gum. ” Mercedes asked. “He split the sticks for four lucky children,” Mama read, “and the others tore slivers of the foil to smell as their sweet treats.

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