Historical Fiction

1914 (UK Edition) by Jean Echenoz

By Jean Echenoz

5 Frenchmen burst off to conflict, of them forsaking a undeniable younger lady who longs for his or her go back. however the major personality in 1914 is the good conflict itself. Jean Echenoz, the multi–award–winning French literary magician whose paintings has been in comparison to Joseph Conrad and Lawrence Sterne, has introduced that deathtrap again to existence, best us lightly from a balmy summer time day deep into the insatiable—and nonetheless unthinkable—carnage of trench warfare.
With the delicacy of a miniaturist and with irony either witty and clear–eyed, the writer deals us an intimate epic with the ambience of a vintage motion picture: within the landscape of a transparent blue sky, a biplane spirals by surprise into the floor; a tardy piece of shrapnel shears the head off a man's head as though it have been a soft–boiled egg; we dawdle dreamily in a spring–scented clearing with a lonely shell–shocked soldier walking innocently to a firing squad able to shoot him for desertion.
But finally, the grace notes of humanity in 1914 upward thrust above the terrors of conflict during this fantastically crafted story that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.

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Halvorsen’s wonderful Operation Little Vittles, as the candy drops came to be called, grew into a worldwide mission of love. The people of Chicopee, Massachusetts, hearing about Gail’s work on the radio, took up his cause. Using an old fire station as the center for Little Vittles, leaders organized local businesses and 22 schools to supply: 11,000 yards of ribbons; 2,000 sheets for chutes; 3,000 handkerchiefs; and 18 tons of candy and gum. At peak production, 800 pounds of candy-tied parachutes were shipped to Rhein-Main every other day!

Gail Halvorsen. Every day, he rained down sweets on the children who cheered the planes landing on Tempelhof’s runway. As Mama read, Mercedes learned how the tall, friendly pilot had talked with these children one day at the fence near the runway’s end. “The children didn’t ask him for candy,” Mama read, “only sweet freedom. Still, before he had to go, he searched his pocket for gum. ” Mercedes asked. “He split the sticks for four lucky children,” Mama read, “and the others tore slivers of the foil to smell as their sweet treats.

BERLIN 1948 One late August day, Mercedes slipped her hand under the white chickens she kept in the small courtyard garden behind her apartment building. Please let there be eggs, she wished as the silver-winged planes flew above like guardian angels. But like yesterday and the day before, the chickens’ nests were empty, except for one small egg. Mercedes fed each chicken a worm and tried not to cry. She loved her four feathered pets, but Mama would not be happy. Eggs were more precious than gold in West Berlin during the Russian blockade.

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