I was trying to figure out what was going wrong with this story as I read it. It was a weird story that felt like it could have taken place 500 years ago, 100 years, or contemporary with its writing (1941), and there were so many clues as to which, until the very real obvious clue I will get to. But the writing was weirdly cryptic and otherwise pretty offensive. There’s a comment I’ve thought before about dialect in novels. Mostly, I hate dialect unless it’s absolutely essential because it’s often condescending and patronizing and even embarassing to read. My comment is often “She/he does realize they’re speaking English right?” because so often it’s like they think the people speaking this kind of language is another species or something.
Anyway, I was then like…well, ok so maybe it’s fine because obviously Paul Gallico must be from East Anglia and therefore it couldn’t possibly be…..well, he’s American, so eff that noise.
Anyway this is a little fable about an ugly guy who abandons his friend to go save British soldiers in Dunkirk. It’s written like the weirdest little version of Wuthering Heights ever, and I was mad when I was finished it because it was so grossly manipulative, offensive in its presentation, nonsensical in its tone and plot, and then I couldn’t even figure out who the audience for this book was. I read it because it was on that Guardian’s 1000 books list and I figured, well, I will see. And I did.