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.