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10+ Værker 284 Medlemmer 8 Anmeldelser

Om forfatteren

Image credit: kcl.ac.uk

Værker af Lara Feigel

Associated Works

Granta 149: Europe: Strangers in the Land (2019) — Bidragyder — 40 eksemplarer

Satte nøgleord på

Almen Viden

South Hampstead High School
Oxford University



Distant, analytical , interior
sammyB666 | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jul 2, 2023 |
This book has a bizarre, somewhat tasteless title, but The Love-charm of Bombs, Restless Lives in the Second World War is an excellent chronicle of World War Two, seen through the eyes of five writers and their circles of friends and family. Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Henry Yorke (a.k.a. Henry Green) and the Austrian Hilde Spiel were all prominent writers in London at the time, and their work is testimony to the mood of the time.
These writers, firefighting, ambulance-driving, patrolling the streets, were the successors of the soldier poets of the First World War [...]. Like the poets in the trenches, Bowen, Greene, Macaulay and Yorke were participants rather than witnesses, risking death, night after night in defence of their city. The Second World War was a total war. No one escaped the danger and every Londoner was vulnerable. While the fighting in the First World War took place far away, the bombing of the Second World War was superimposed onto a relatively normal life. Books were written, parties hosted, love affairs initiated and broken off. But the books, parties and love affairs were infused with the danger of death; every aspect of life was refracted through the lens of war. (Introduction, p.4)

Elizabeth Bowen in later years described this time as a moment outside time when she and her friends were 'afloat on the tideless, hypnotic, futureless today.'
Bowen, Greene, Macaulay, Spiel and Yorke floated dangerously on that futureless present. All experienced the war as an abnormal pocket of time. As writers, they observed the strangeness of war imaginatively. London became a city of restless dreams and hallucinogenic madness; a place in which fear itself could transmute into addictive euphoria. To stay in London was to gamble nightly with death. And so each day was unexpected; each moment had the exhilarating but unreal intensity of the last moment on earth. (p.4)

If I hadn't heard my own mother say much the same thing, I wouldn't have believed this possible...

(Her war was very different to my father's. He had no romanticised memories of the tragedies that befell him.)

The book could so easily have been mere salacious celebrity gossip, because it's about the adulterous love lives of these famous (and privileged) authors, but it's not. It's an unusual slant on the war when we think we've already heard it all. Through letters, diaries and the authors' books, The Love-charm of Bombs reveals how the war changed emotional lives and created a dreamlike atmosphere where every moment had to be savoured. Everything was more intense and more vivid, as well as more precarious.

I've read and reviewed all but one of the five writers on whom the book is focussed. (But be warned, reading this book will generate a wishlist of titles from which your credit card may never recover!)
… (mere)
anzlitlovers | 5 andre anmeldelser | Jun 24, 2022 |
This was a strange book. All the chapters are narrated by one of the five friends, Stella, who somehow knows exactly what her friends are thinking in their chapters. Stella's character seemed the least coherent to me (and that's saying something, because Kay and Priss were hard to get a handle on too).

The whole thing felt fairly inconsequential. There were glimmers of plot: Polly's job sounded interesting, Kay ran away for a month. Mostly though there were descriptions of what seemed to me deeply unsatisfactory marital/romantic relationships, but which the characters appeared to see as the norm. Maybe my standards are too high, but I wanted to tell the author that it's possible to be far happier in a relationship than she seemed to conceive of. There were a lot of instances of mothers having almost obsessive relationships with their (girl) babies and then going off them once they became toddlers and gained a mind of their own, which was disturbing in more than one way.

I suppose there must have been something in it (the #metoo sections looked as if they were going somewhere but fizzled out) since I have found so much to say, but I wouldn't recommend it.
… (mere)
pgchuis | 1 anden anmeldelse | Jan 6, 2021 |
Surprisingly good account of five successful novelists' lives during and after World War II. This serves as a very interesting and educational timeline regarding general WWII events and day-to-day life in war-torn London, especially during the Blitz.

These writers--Rose Macaulay, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke (writing as Henry Green), Elizabeth Bowen, and (less so) Hilde Spiel--all seemed to live their lives in a very self-centered and privileged fashion. Not just how they were able to attend or host parties--which included luxuries like smoked salmon and alcohol during times of rationing and when others were starving--but in all their adulterous relationships and general disregard of most of the spouses for each other (there were a couple of doormat wives who didn't cheat as far as we know but it was excessively prevalent). Was that just normal for the times, or for the upper class, or is it just my puritanical Americana background that makes me scratch my head at how hurtful they were to each other? It made it hard for me, at first, to sympathize with them but I eventually succumbed to their collective charms...some of them doomed themselves in the end anyhow and did their penance.

After reading this, I've started further exploration of these writers' works, and after knowing more about their background and circumstances leading to their writings, I am enjoying with fresh perspective those I was already familiar with. Also, since there have been excellent movies made of some of these works, I have been enjoying catching some of them as well. Of course, [Graham Greene's] "The End of the Affair" with Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore is excellent. [Elizabeth Bowen's] "The Last September" isn't the greatest movie I've ever seen, but it's helpful in visualizing what her real-life Irish "Big House" (Bowen Court) may have been like. I also enjoyed [another of Greene's novels turned into film] 1948's "The Third Man" with Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, and Trevor Howard, especially considering it was filmed in post-war Vienna in the Russian district. Even more so than seeing photographs of the destruction, it is interesting to see people navigate through the city amidst the actual rubble and ruins. Heartbreaking to think of all the loss (not only on the obvious human scale) during that wretched war.

Really impressive research and ability to pull it all together.
… (mere)
AddictedToMorphemes | 5 andre anmeldelser | Mar 7, 2014 |



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