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Category: Fiction / General
Publication date: 4 January 2007
Number of pages: 528
Prizes: Winner of Whitaker Gold Book Award 2001.
Winner of Enid McLeod Literary Award 1993.
Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 21 2003.
Runner-up for The BBC Big Read Top 100 2003.
Shortlisted for BBC Big Read Top 100 2003.
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.
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)
What the papers say:
"Magnificent - deeply moving" Sunday Times "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" Sunday Express "Engrossing, moving, and unforgettable" The Times "One of the finest novels of the last forty years" Mail on Sunday "Amazing... 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" Daily Mail
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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