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A Soldier of the Great War af Mark Helprin
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A Soldier of the Great War (original 1991; udgave 2005)

af Mark Helprin (Forfatter)

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,596338,230 (4.28)104
On his last long walk, septuagenarian war hero, deserter, and professor Alessandro Giuliani shares his past with an illiterate young factory worker--spinning a remarkable and deeply absorbing tale of heart-stopping escapes, loves unrequited and won, madmen, dwarfs, and mafiosi. But overshadowing all is the miraculous and terrible Great War--an almost surreal parade of horrors that devastated and defined Alessandro, yet enabled him to experience fully the magic and beauty of life.… (mere)
Medlem:billlemieux
Titel:A Soldier of the Great War
Forfattere:Mark Helprin (Forfatter)
Info:Mariner Books (2005), Edition: First, 880 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:
Nøgleord:Ingen

Detaljer om værket

A Soldier of the Great War af Mark Helprin (1991)

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The Great War in Italy had its share of trench warfare, but most of the fighting was up north in the mountains, where Italy abuts what was then the AustroHungarian Empire. The soldier of this story, Alessandro, grows up in Rome, and is studying aesthetics when the war begins; he enlists because he feels he can better avoid the worst of it if he volunteers.

Alas, that was not to be. While he leads what seems to be a charmed life, the war in all its cruelty and fatality whirling around him in various venues and battles.

The story is enclosed in the simple adventure of an old man walking to a distant village with a young man, to whom he tells the history of his war and also much more. Helprin uses the character's love of beauty as permission for vivid and often beautiful descriptions of even ugly and terrifying events, but does not forget to show how Alessandro learns, hardens, and finds meaning in life in spite of, or because of, the war.

There are funny scenes as well as tragic ones, some of them just short of magical realism; some villains get their comeuppance promptly, some long after it does any good, some not at all. Many good people die, some almost by accident, some quite deliberately. Ultimately, Alessandro is left with the idea of beauty as that with which God comforts his broken children, and the idea of life as the balance of risk and hope. ( )
1 stem ffortsa | Mar 5, 2020 |
His horse, Enrico, Alessandro's father, Lawyer Giuliani, and Alessandro Giuliani are a proud, inspiring, and formidable triumvirate of my favorite characters ever.

Though some plot lines felt odd (risking Enrico's life to leap the speared fences was a disquieting lack of good sense), the only wholly improbable ones come toward the end > Alessandro's masochistic defiance of Klodgwig, hearing Ariane's heartbeat, and his family dream.

The final ending left an awful and totally defenseless image of a hunter's brutal killing of sparrows.
If this was a metaphor, it was overkill. ( )
  m.belljackson | Jan 2, 2020 |
I really wanted to dislike this book after being annoyed by Helprin's sometimes pompous (and even empty) writing style (i.e. too many of his descriptors mean nothing but the sound of their words on the ear), but, my goodness, I loved this book. Against my better judgement, I found myself mesmerized by the main character, the landscape, the war, and the consistently engaging conversation about beauty, truth, life, and God. This is one of those books that needs to be over 700 pages, so you can spend quality time with the character and story. I was very upset to finish it. ( )
  petermoccia | Mar 20, 2019 |
Fantastic! I recommend this to everyone who likes a good tale. It's an epic story, full of romance, drama, suspense, highs and lows, it will make you smile and make you cry... And it is BEAUTIFULLY written. Some of the passages read like poetry. One of my favorites. ( )
  Lit_Cat | Dec 9, 2017 |
I don't generally like novels about war, but a friend bought me a copy of this book out of the blue because she had absolutely loved it. So I gave it a try. And did not love it. An old man and a young man walk along the road in Italy as the old man relates his life in WWI. Our protagonist isn't very interesting to me. Very masculine, unchanging, irresistible, nigh-indestructible. And extraordinarily long-winded. Lordy, but this is a long book. And maybe it would appeal to people who adore Italy during this time period, or are very interested in WWI, but it did not appeal to me. ( )
  melydia | Jun 23, 2017 |
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On the ninth of August, 1964, Rome lay asleep in afternoon light as the sun swirled in a blinding pinwheel above its roofs, its low hills, and its gilded domes.
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Numbers, as you well know, are delicate illusions. You don't have to have Archimedes talking about rabbits and turtles to know that when you start in with negative numbers, as we do with young schoolchildren, you are singing like a Druid.

In war, the terror, the compression of eschatological questions, the abridgement of the laws of man, the lack of sense in it, the confusion, the entropy...All combine to demolish completely the meaning and integrity of numbers.
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On his last long walk, septuagenarian war hero, deserter, and professor Alessandro Giuliani shares his past with an illiterate young factory worker--spinning a remarkable and deeply absorbing tale of heart-stopping escapes, loves unrequited and won, madmen, dwarfs, and mafiosi. But overshadowing all is the miraculous and terrible Great War--an almost surreal parade of horrors that devastated and defined Alessandro, yet enabled him to experience fully the magic and beauty of life.

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