OK, let me just put this out there. Unconstructed prose is not my jam. Page after page with no structure, no punctuation, no paragraphs, OK, no. Looking at you James Joyce. Dubliners? Love. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man? Well OK. Finnigan’s Wake? OK, now we having issues. Ulysses? Oooohhh no. So I feel guilty about not giving this a better rating because it is not my cup of tea, but I suspect it is well written. Generally when I give a 1 or 2 stars, I feel the book is pretty much crap, and I don’t think that’s the case here. Especially when it looks as if the author has a Nobel in Lit in his bag.
So this it is set in 1940, as the Germans are starting to invade Europe, and very much looks back to WWI, as the same muddy fields in Flanders are once again a battlefield. Once again this is a trench warfare situation, and tanks are not too useful in these muddy fields. There is overlapping of the characters, their relatives, and Simon himself in both wars. Georges, the main character, sees his captain blown off his horse in the middle of a town square. Which war? Apparently both. He then gets involved with the captain’s widow. But it turns out His friend, Iglesia, was involved with the same widow prewar. And so it goes. Since many of the characters are flashing back to earlier experiences in the previous war, it all blends together in a hideous montage. Well, some things just don’t change much do they?