Sebastian Faulks’ celebrated novel Birdsong is set during the 1st World War and despite being a story, its historical content is accurate.

 It tells the story of Stephen Wraysford and the events that shape his life. Starting in pre-war France and moving on, it deals with Stephen’s experiences in love and war. The novel incorporates Stephen’s friendship with Michael Weir, a fellow soldier and also includes the stories of other soldiers that fight alongside them.

 This is a graphic and detailed novel. Faulks describes in detail the events that these soldiers lived through on a daily basis. Despite the disturbing nature of some of these scenes, the novel is so beautifully and cleverly written.

 Faulks ties in the events of Stephen Wraysford during the First World War to modern life with the goals of Stephen’s Granddaughter, Elizabeth, to trace her past and seek out what happened to her Grandfather. She does this when she discovers the journals that her Grandfather wrote during the war.

 The novel is structured so that it moves forward and back in time and reminds the reader of the benefits we have today because of the sacrifices made by so many men.

 Birdsong is an informative and moving novel and one which brings home the realities and the true atrocities that the soldiers of the First World War suffered. Once read, it will never be forgotten.

*****

Andi Fergusson 

 

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About Miss Thomas

I am an English teacher at The City Academy, Hackney.

2 responses »

  1. Miss Thomas says:

    A beautifully written review, well done Andi. I like the way you comment on the emotional impact of the novel’s structure.

  2. chris says:

    A great review, you go in real good depth, keep it up.

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