You’re going to have to forgive me for this one – it’s been a long time since I read it, and my memory isn’t what it used to be.
I liked it maybe more than I thought I would from the reviews, which made it sound very dark and intense. And it did get quite dark, and it was rather intense, but in a way where I was thoroughly sucked in and there was no question of it being too heavy or too much for me, I just wanted to keep going.
The conclusion to my Indian independence trilogy!
Some light holiday reading on our month-long trip home, and I read most of this biography of Clement Attlee while breastfeeding and contact napping, though that’s how I read pretty much everything these days. Sadly, he was pre-Queen Elizabeth, so I didn’t get a helpful The Crown crash course in his premiership, and the only thing about him I could remember was, oddly, a very clear memory of writing his name in my history book at school when we were learning about the welfare state.
Yeah, you already know that I like Jonasson’s work, and I think Kuhn does a good job, as far as I can tell through my rough German, of nailing the tone (lively and wry, deadpan in all the right places).
The intersection between British (mostly) soldiers in World War I and nature seemed almost fanciful when I picked this one up. Like, there have been so many millions of words lavished on WWI from every possible angle, every conceivable breadth and depth thoroughly mined for recording, remembering, analysing, hypothesising, learning.
I really enjoyed this though, and it’s not really that much of a stretch to connect war and nature, especially a war in which animals were used and kept by the army itself – their ratting cats and terriers, their horses, mules, donkeys and camels, their messenger pigeons and dogs. This is only one small facet of the soldier’s experience of non-human life on the front though. Plant life, insect life, birds, vermin, nuisances, all existed around and among the armies, and they were reassured, comforted, bothered, sickened by it, perceiving it through their own personal lenses as humans are wont to do.