Friday, 25 January 2013

A MOMENT OF WAR - Laurie Lee, 1991

Before I read the autobiographical trilogy of Lee’s, of which this is the third volume, I had little idea how far apart they were written or how relatively recently this one was published.
I found it, by far, the least engaging of the three, which was a shame as I had such high hopes for it. Having just embarked on a study of the Spanish Civil War I thought that this would, as well as completing the autobiography, add to my understanding of the conflict. I see from looking it up on the web, that others, with far more expertise than me, have questioned its authenticity. Apparently, Lee said that he had his diaries stolen and so wrote it from memory. That does not explain, though, why he left it so long to write it.
There are some very exciting episodes in the narrative and a sense of peril is successfully retained throughout but it lacks the delicacy of Cider with Rosie. Perhaps it should lack delicacy; it is, after all, a book about war but there is that sense of humanity missing and when that sense of humanity is present a good book can become a great one.

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