Literature and War Readalong September 30 2013: There’s No Home by Alexander Baron

There Is No Time

I discovered Alexander Baron’s There’s No Home  thanks to Guy who read an article about this forgotten author a while back.

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.

20 thoughts on “Literature and War Readalong September 30 2013: There’s No Home by Alexander Baron

  1. Wonderful new discovery and wonderful choice for the readalong, Caroline! This looks like a very interesting book. Sorry to know that Alexander Baron is a forgotten novelist today. Hope he is able to make a comeback now. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts on this book. Happy reading!

    Love the new look and feel of your blog 🙂 It looks quite beautiful.

    • Thanks, Vishy. You are the first who noticed. :)I’ve been looking for a new look for weeks now. Not sure about the bubbles (I have no clue how to remove them). I like that I can change all the colors (with the upgrade) and add a photo or picture in the header if I want to.
      I hope we will like Baron. I like WWII novels set in Italy.

  2. Thank you for introducing me to Alexander Baron. I wasn’t familiar with him. It is odd how some authors and their novels become “classics” while some fade away. I wonder why that is. Good for you for reviving his work to a new generation of readers.

    • My pleasure.:) It’s very odd, I agree and I have no clue why it happens. According to the afterword there is no real reason in this case.
      They just fall through the cracks somehow.

  3. It is always a puzzle as to why some authors will rise i standing while others will fall. I suspect that there are some mysterious laws out there at work.

    I am curious to read what you thing when you read one of his books.

    By the way, great new look!

  4. Really glad to see that you’re giving another forgotten author his due. It’s strange to think that there are some really good books now out of print, but with such an influx of new material, it’s bound to happen. I look forward to reading Baron’s work.

    The new design is very nice, Caroline! I need to change mine soon.

  5. I’m really looking forward to this (an unknown author to me as well who I am glad to discover). Must pull out my copy and get ready to read it, though it looks like it will likely be a fast read like the Claudel. Have you been thinking of next year’s list of books….out of curiosity… ? 🙂

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