Continuing on with my collection of writing by Timothy Findley, two nights ago, I completed The Wars. This novel really spoke to me, given my recent research about my Great Grandfather, John Moors who lost his life in Etaples. Robert Ross, the protagonist, takes the reader through a more-than-real experience of the front in World War I. I like that from the beginning, the story is pulled out of a box of archives…photos, journals and letters that would have been kept over many years. The reader returns to these bits of nostalgia throughout the narrative and finally, at the end. (Always good stuff for someone who adores memorabilia.) I also adore the use of references to the visual arts, art history, music and literature and Findley does this very well, especially I find, in this novel. This was, for me, a page-turner and I felt huge empathy for the soldiers and the animals in this beautiful and yet, horrific book. The Stay-At-Home-Bookworm writes,
“You go down the steps to the hold of the S.S. Massanabie with Ross and smell the stench of hundreds of horses kept frightened in their own filth, with not a single porthole opened for fresh air, you see the only light provided by an oil lamp and feel the heaving of the ship. Your own revulsion is indistinguishable from the boy’s as he is required for the first time in his life to kill a living being, a horse that has fallen and broken his leg, and you see the white of the horse’s eyes as he stares with confusion and pain at his murderer.”
Another perspective on the book, here.