Reading the beginning of the afterword I’m astonished he was forgotten. John L. Williams writes the following.
Alexander Baron was, arguably, the great British novelist of the Second World War, and for a while he was also the most popular. The three books in which he covered the conflict –There’s No Home, From the City, From the Plough, and The Human Kind– received glowing reviews and sold in vast numbers on their first appearance on the bookstands and in book club editions.
That these titles have receded from view, rather than becoming established classics – on a par with, say, the wartime books of Evelyn Waugh, Graham Green e or Olivia Manning – seems as mysterious as it is unjust. Perhaps it is due with Baron’s concern with the infantryman’s point of view, rather than the officer class. Or perhaps it is that Baron’s style is so effortlessly simple and unsensational that it is easy to overlook the virtuosity of the writing.
This certainly puts me in the mood to pick up the book and discover this author for myself.
Here are the first sentences
This is not a story of war but of one of those brief interludes in war when the almost-forgotten rhythms of normal living are permitted to emerge again, and when it seeps back into the consciousness of human b wings – painfully, sometimes heartbreakingly – that they are, after all human.
The discussion starts on Monday, 30 September 2013.
Further information on the Literature and War Readalong 2013, including all the book blurbs, can be found here.