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Set before and during the great war, Birdsong captures the drama of that era on both a national and a personal scale. It is the story of Stephen, a young Englishman, who arrives in Amiens in 1910. Over the course of the novel he suffers a series of traumatic experiences, from the clandestine love affair that tears apart the family with whom he lives, to the unprecedented experiences of the war itself.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 528 pages
  • 132.08 x 200.66 x 33.02mm | 430.91g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099387913
  • 9780099387916
  • 8,178

Review quote

An amazing book - I have read it and re-read it and can think of no other novel for many, many years that has so moved me or stimulated in me so much reflection on the human spirit -- Quentin Crewe Daily Mail 20031022 This is literature at its very best: a book with the power to reveal the unimagined, so that one's life is set in a changed context. I urge you to read it -- Nigel Watts Time Out 20031022 So powerful is this recreated past that you long to call Birdsong perfect -- Sue Gee The Times 20031022 With Birdsong Faulks has produced a mesmerizing story of love and war... This book is so powerful that as I finished it I turned to the front to start again -- Andrew James Sunday Express 20031022 An overpowering and beautiful novel... Ambitious, outrageous, poignant, sleep-disturbing, Birdsong is not a perfect novel, just a great one -- Simon Schama New Yorker 20031022

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Review Text

Curiously, it is the fighting in World War I more than World War II that resonates in the imagination of contemporary writers. Its now unimaginable and unimaginative killing fields, commemorated by the rows of simple white crosses, reverberates now as much as ever. Birdsong is possibly the finest example of this cross-fertilization, pipping Pat Barker and Geoff Dyer to the post. After beginning in Amiens, France, in 1910, the action of this much-praised novel shifts between the French battlefields of the First World War and suburban England in the late 1970s. It is both a passionate love story and a tale of camaraderie and isolation in war. (Kirkus UK)

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About Sebastian Faulks

Sebastian Faulks was born and brought up in Newbury, Berkshire. He worked in journalism before starting to write books. He is best known for the French trilogy, The Girl at the Lion d'Or, Birdsong and Charlotte Gray (1989-1997) and is also the author of a triple biography, The Fatal Englishman (1996); a small book of literary parodies, Pistache (2006); and the novels Human Traces (2005) and Engleby (2007). He lives in London with his wife and their three children.

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Customer reviews

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by Jolanta
A truely remarkable book, mainly about WW1 war in the trenches. Harrowing narrative about the fighting that went on and the sights the soldiers were forced to endure, such brave men just discarded on the battle field of the Somme. The book starts off by introducing us to Stephen the main character a young man that hasn't experienced much love or affection in his life, is in France, he is staying with a family there and falls in Love with the wife. It doesn't work out and he becomes a father, but doesn't know, as his lover (Isabelle leaves him!) We meet Stephen again as an officer at the Somme. Other Characters are introduced to get a balance of perspectives with different backgrounds and ranks. The story also comes full circles as we get to know Stephens Grand-daughter, who investigates his past. An excellent read, harrowing but truely more
by Penny Cunningham
This book did take me a little while to get in to, but once I did, I absolutely loved it!!! This book is soo emotional at times, imagining yourself as Stephen through this horrible, devasting Great War. Their were many times when I shed a tear for the main character and the experiences that he had to face and live on with. Birdsong has made me understand why War Vetrans, including my own Grandfather, never forget their experience during WW1 and/or WW2. There are so many more things that I would love to say, but I am too afraid that I will dwell too much into the story and spoil it. All I want to say is that if you do find the book a tad boring at times, all I can say is PLEASE FINISH IT! It will be an absolute waste to not know the more
by Rachael Symonds