I had never heard of Nigel Balchin before reading a few intriguing reviews on Guy’s blog (here, here and here). When I looked him up and saw he wrote a novel – Darkness Falls From the Air – which is called the “classic novel of the London Blitz” and written during the Blitz in 1942, I was keen on including it this year. Balchin seems one of those authors hardly anyone knows anymore but those who rediscover him are usually enthusiastic. It even seems that he is Patrick McGrath’s favourite novelist.
After having read about the bombing of Coventry written by a contemporary writer it will be interesting to see how someone handles the Blitz who has actually experienced it.
Here are the first sentences
I stopped at about seven. There was too much stuff on my desk to have a chance of getting clear that night, and I was tired of it. I felt pretty guilty coming downstairs, and had to tell myself that this was the first time this week that I had stopped before eight.
Two French officers were just coming in the front door as I went out, and I did the bowing and waving act that I always do to them. It struck me as odd that they should still be around – unless they had decided to stay on in England and fight with us.
The discussion starts on Monday, 28 May 2012.
Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2012, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.
16 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong May 28 2012: Darkness Falls From the Air by Nigel Balchin”
I’m sad that I can’t find a copy of this on in my library and I didn’t see a Kindle version either. Enjoy and I look forward to your review.
That’s too bad. I was afraid it would happen. There are only used copies available on amazon. Mine was very cheap. No wonder he isn’t well known. I thought some editor was planning on releasing e-books.
I’m looking forward to this as well. I’ve already pulled out my copy but will wait a bit before starting. It looks fairly short, so maybe it will be a quick read.
I didn’t realize but you are right, it’s only 200pages long. All of Guy’ s reviews sounded good so I really hope we will like it.
Hello Caroline: very interested to see what you make of Balchin. This one is sitting on my shelf, and I’ve been very tempted to pick it up. Perhaps later this month…
If you join it would be great but don’t force yourself. I’m really keen on reading it now.
I really like Patrick McGrath. Have you read his books, Caroline? I think he would appeal to you.
Yes, I have and I do like him a great deal, you are right. I thought it sounded promising to know that he likes Balchin.
Too bad I don’t have time to read it, I’m intrigued by Balchin too.
Yes, that’s too bad. It would be difficult to find, it’s out of print. I wonder if he has been translated into French.
I have never heard of Nigel Balchin till I read one of your posts where you had mentioned him. It is sad that his books are out of print. Hope they come back in print. Looking forward to reading your thoughts and the thoughts of other participants during the readalong. Happy Reading!
Thank you, Vishy. I have to find out for myself first but from everything I’ve read about him so far, I think it’s strange he is hardly known anymore.
Thanks for the heads-up on this one. I’m adding it to my list.
All of the reviews I read made him sound really interesting. I hope you will like it and it would be great if you could join.
I have really enjoyed reading this and was grateful for the introduction to Nigel Balchin as I’d never heard of him before either. I look forward to reading people’s comments.
I’m very glad to hear it. I’m just about to finalize my review and will post it shortly. I hope you will participate in the discussion.