Birdsong is the story of a young British man, Stephen Wraysford who goes to Amiens in France, 1910 to learn about the textile industry from René Azaire. He stays with René at his home where he falls in love with his wife. But as if that wasn’t complicated enough, Isabelle- the wife- is several years older than Stephen and can’t see herself running off with an English man. The war calls Stephen back and the lovers part… whether they meet again FREAKING ANNOYED ME! The novel is split in seven sections with accounts from Stephen’s granddaughter, Elizabeth, trying to find out about Stephen’s life.
It was actually a really graphic account of life during WWI through the eyes of Stephen. I was surprised when I looked up Sebastian Faulks and saw he had not served in the war, but his father had. I actually felt incredibly sorry for the soldiers and what they went through; the trauma of living after seeing so many die is terrible. On that note, I have to say how in awe I am of the soldiers who fought , in every war, all over the world. Now, warfare is so technoligically advanced; you can fire from a safe distance. But a century ago, you had to face the enemy in person. Crazy.
Anyway, I really enjoyed the way the novel was written. Faulks is a beautiful writer who really brought the reality of war to life for me. I don’t think I’d read it again any time soon: it’s a bit traumatizing.
I kind of hate Isabelle so that’s my only complaint about the book. She’s the worst. Stephen was one hell of a trooper though; I just wanted to hug him.
I’d recommend this novel if you’re interested in life during WWI for a soldier. It is a lot depressing though but a worthwhile read!