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LOSING JULIAby Jonathan Hull


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#1 oberon

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 11:19 AM

I'd been meaning to read this book since it came out in 2000; one thing after another put it off and then it went out of print. But I found a copy at Alibris (a great on-line place to find books) and I started it, and cannot put it down.

It is essentially a story about World War I told in flash-backs by Patrick, an American soldier, now (years later) in a nursing home. Intertwined with ghastly recollections of the war and scenes set in the nursing home - by turns amusing and touching - is a love story. The book deals with big issues (war, growing old, lost opportunity) on a personal level. It upsets and exults by turn.

One of the striking aspects of the book is the detachment from war among those who are not actively involved in the fighting of it. This relates to our present situation where the death, mutilation, torture and despair going on in Iraq and Afghanistan do not affect our daily lives because we are at a safe remove.

Many years after his own wartime experience, and after yet a second catastrophic world war, Patrick visits Dachau. On leaving he observes, "...the real horror is not what happened at Dachau but what didn't happen after Dachau. Certainly we know now once and for all that humanity can never be brought to its senses."

A powerful, upsetting and rewarding book...

#2 dirac

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 12:06 PM

Thanks for the report, oberon. I hadn't heard of this book. What is the author's name?

#3 oberon

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 12:59 PM

The author is Jonathan Hull. I'm about 1/2 way through it. Certain passages have left me feeling depressed, which is uncharacteristic for me. It deals powerfully with the reality of war, and also with the emptiness & regret of old age. I called out sick from work yesterday so I could keep reading, that's how it's grabbed me!

#4 dirac

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 01:39 PM

oberon, I'm losing it. You mentioned Hull's name in the topic. Thank you for being nice about it. :)

I once skipped half a day of school to finish The French Lieutenant's Woman.

#5 oberon

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 04:45 PM

I even took it with me to the NYCB ticket line on Monday and was glad I did because otherwise it would have been a tedious 90-minute wait to get to the box office window...


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