Alfie Day, RAF airman and former World War II POW, never expected to survive the war. He may not have even wanted tochoosing to be a tail gunnerexposed, alone and watchful for his skipper and his crew through night after night of bombing missions. Now, five years after the end of the war and more alone than ever, Alfie finds himself drawn to unearth those intense, strangely passionate days by working as an extra on a POW film. What he will discover on the set about himself, his loves and the world around him will make the war itself look simple.
Day is a superbly realized, emotionally charged, deeply affecting drama about the violence of modern life, and the intensity and courage to be found in the closeness of death. Blazing with Kennedys characteristic virtuosity, wit and narrative invention, Day is funny and moving, wise and sad, a dazzlingly original performance from one of the most gifted writers of our time.
Winner of the 2007 Costa Novel Award.
Alfred was growing a moustache.
An untrained observer might think he was idling, at a loose end in the countryside, but this wasn't the case. In fact, he was concentrating, thinking his way through every bristle, making sure they would align and be all right.
His progress so far was quite impressive: a respectable growth which already suggested reliability and calm. There were disadvantages to him, certain defects: the shortness, inelegant hands, possible thinning at his crown, habit of swallowing words before they could leave him, habit of looking mainly at the groundand those few extra pounds at his waist, a lack of conditionbut he wasn't so terribly ugly, not such a bad lot.
Mainly his problem was tirednessor more an irritation with his tirednessor more a tiredness that was caused by his irritationor possibly both. He could no longer tell.
It wasn't that he was awkward, or peculiar, quite the reverse: he was biddable and ...
This disorienting prose style is the true strength of Day; in fact, it's the key that makes the entire story work. Without the constant shift of perspective and non-linear story line, we would never stand in Alfie's shoes, and that's the whole point. We must follow Alfie, be Alfie to the end, because learning what Alfie learns is the ultimate lesson of life, a lesson that that may ultimately save us from war.
(Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Full Review (1129 words).
World War II at the Movies:
Alfred Day's attempt to face the disillusionment of war on a film set is similar to what society at the time was doing at the movie theaters. The massive movie hits of the 40s and 50s, like To Hell and Back, allowed moviegoers on both sides of the Atlantic to relive moments of the war, if they had been directly involved, or to understand the nature of war, if they were not.
Since war broke out in 1939, World War II has been a favorite topic with movie studios in the USA and UK, and no doubt in ...
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