Reader reviews and comments on Birdsong, plus links to write your own review.

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by Sebastian Faulks

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  • First Published:
    Feb 1996, 402 pages
    Apr 1997, 483 pages

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There are currently 8 reader reviews for Birdsong
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Hannah (03/12/13)

I am studying this book at the moment and have turned to this website to gain other peoples opinions as I was very disappointed. When I started to read the book I was gripped by the character of Stephen and his relationship with Isabelle, but the sex scenes became rather tedious and started to lose the passion a bit. As for the war part, I do agree that the descriptions are excellent especially when it comes to imagining the atmosphere, but I felt there wasn't enough content in terms of a gripping storyline.
I may be biased as I am comparing this book to Journey's End and am about to do a Drama degree, but I was left wanting more when the book ended so became disappointed overall.
Andy A (08/10/10)

Awful book
A good few people have recommended this book to me over the years knowing that I have a great interest in WW1 & WW2.

I am not normally one to read novels (I prefer historical text books) but after the book was recommended to me yet again I thought there must me something in it, and so decided to give it a go...

And so I read it... and what can I say... apart from: what an appallingly bad book. I plowed through it and rejoiced when it was finally finished. I have never read such a terrible, terrible book.

Many people have commended it for its 'historical accuracies', and while I cannot dispute this as such, I seriously question some of the relationships between enlisted men and officers.

As for the 'historical accuracies' they seem to have come directly from "My Big Book of WW1Cliches".

It really is that awful.

Contrived, dull and flips back and forwards in time like a bad 1950s Sci-Fi movie.

The end of the book was so drawn out and tedious I almost shouted for joy when it ended.

Oh, and the book made me laugh out loud on several occasions - not that I think I was supposed to.

In short - a dreadful book.

Your time would be better spent in a darkened room staring at the wall.

You'll have a more rewarding experience that way.
Emma Bambridge (11/14/08)

The most emotional book I have ever read
Birdsong didn't appeal to me at first when I read the blurb. But as I started reading the first chapter I couldn't put it down!

Stephen as the main character made my imagination come to life! I pictured everything that happened and felt the pain he experienced.

I would read this book over and over again and never be bored of it! I recommend it to all A Level students studying WWI.
Karen (09/08/07)

Great war story, weak love story
Not being a fan of war novels, I was a bit leery to start this book had it not been so highly recommended. While the accounts of the war were truly horrific beyond comprehension, it was written in such a way that what you actually see and feel as a reader is not just blood and guts, but a clear understanding of humanity in it's most primal form.

I was so completely engrossed in the story and enraptured with its characters that I didn't put it down for three days.

After finishing, it was evident to me that the chapters of the war were the real meat and potatoes of the book. The present-day part of the story was on the boring side and the love story and relationships with Isabelle and Jeanne felt incomplete and underdeveloped. In fact, the way in which Faulks depicts Isabelle's departure from Stephen and her reunion with him seems to be hastily written in contrast to the amount of time and effort that was devoted to the part about the war.

Yet even with those criticisms, this was still hands-down one of the best books I've read in a really long time. I can't wait for the movie to come out! I highly recommend it.
Brigitte (08/31/07)

Pointless and inappropriate
This book was the worst book I have every read. Though many classics have intimate romance, they at least have some meaning to them, this book, on the other hand, has no point at all to it's highly graphic and inappropriate sensuousness, no rich moral or intellect in it's content. A very shallow, pointless book written by a pervert who just needed to obviously get some feelings of his own off his chest. Tactless, and very poor writing on Faulks' part.
Emma McKay (03/22/07)

One of the most moving books I have ever read..
People recommend books all the time - and in fact 'Birdsong' wasn't recommended to me, I fortunately just came across it - but a week after finishing the book the images and characters are so thoughtfully and dramatically developed that they remain with you long after you have finished. As a previous reviewer points out the first part of the book is very different to the second part but works brilliantly because of this contrast - I would urge you to read this book.....
Aaron 'AZ' Lock (01/19/07)

it's a good book
The title 'Birdsong' is ironic as the contexts of this novel of war and physical and mental travesty contradict the majesty of it's title.

The book's compelling horror of war is graphically portrayed and will shock even the boldest reader "they blown Bryne's head, bit by bit, clean off until a hole between his shoulders remained".

Frankly if you are going to read a book this year I would strongly recommend this novel, Sebastian Faulks has clearly surpassed himself and has set a new standard for World War 1 writing.
Ryan Thomas (01/15/07)

When I first read Birdsong I couldn't believe how, from the introduction, war was going to play a significant part in the novel. When I look back now, after studying it long and hard I can honestly say that though war in all its forms plays the most dominant role, the love shown between all of the characters is remarkable. Love in all its forms (comradeship and love for Isabelle and Jeane and father and son) also holds a vitality and astonishing form throughout the brilliance of the compelling novel. Boundaries will be broken in war but love will never be destroyed.
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