By Jean Echenoz
5 Frenchmen burst off to struggle, of them abandoning a undeniable younger girl who longs for his or her go back. however the major personality in 1914 is the good struggle 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 lifestyles, 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 unexpectedly 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 superbly crafted story that Echenoz tells with discretion, precision, and love.
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Additional resources for 1914 (UK Edition)
The empress’ grief-stricken appearance, with her sleeves drawn together, was so captivating as to surprise an observer that, depending on the wearer, dark robes could arouse such wistfulness. “Since he has not seen your highness’ face for some time now, I can tell that the emperor is not in good spirits. With due respect for your highness’ grief, I ask that you take strength and meet with him. . ” Ukon no Naishi’s tone was encouraging as she handed the emperor’s letter to the empress, who wiped her eyelids, swollen from weeping, and opened it.
She concealed the incorrigible wild streak inherited from her mother and blossomed into a comely young ladyin-waiting. Empress Teishi managed to give each of her ladies-in-waiting the impression of being the sole recipient of her special favor; in reality, though, she preferred cheerful and open dispositions. Compared to the citified, courtly, and excessively trim appearance of many serving in the palace, the innocence of Kureha’s peach-like cheeks, the boldly cheerful expression of her eyes, and the lucidity of her words and manners had special appeal to Teishi, who came to have the girl serve at her side constantly.
Major Counselor Michinaga, who was concurrently serving as steward of the empress’ household, asked Ayame to become a lady-in-waiting to his first wife, Rinshi. After what happened at Kaneie’s sickbed, Michinaga had great expectations of the mediumistic powers Ayame had inherited from her mother. A year later, upon hearing from Ayame that her younger sister Kureha had turned fifteen, Michinaga announced that he wanted to meet the young woman. He did not summon Kureha to his residence, but made a point of having her escorted to the hermitage of a nun who had served as his own nurse, and there he received the two sisters together.
1914 (UK Edition) by Jean Echenoz