ARC The Dust That Falls from Dreams – [Now Claimed thanks]
July 20, 2015
I just finished Louis de Bernières’ The Dust That Falls from Dreams, primarily about a young generation of Britons and their parents, some transplanted from America or France, that live and die through World War I and its aftermath. De Bernières is one of my favorites after Bird Without Wings from 2004, though he’s probably most famous for Corelli’s Mandolin. In The Dust…the characters’ dignified and constructive response to personal tragedy is touchingly evident throughout. The author starts the book with the innocent childhoods of the main characters at the death of Queen Victoria, ironically the Kaiser’s grandmother. It sets the stage for what a rude shock the war was to people of that time. I was also entranced by one of the main character’s diary of daily life in the trenches, including vivid descriptions of dangerously unretrievable rotting bodies, unsanitary trench conditions, and alternatively shooting at and conversing or even singing to the enemy trenches only yards away. There are also light moments of comic relief, such as when eccentric but connected Mrs. McCosh writes frequently to the king asking personal favors, which prompts indulgent, respectful replies from his secretary (“His majesty must leave such matters to his government”). Overall – an affecting story of letting go and moving on and conflicting allegiances in a messy world. Please comment to claim if you’d like this ARC. I’ve always thought this author deserves to be more popular. We have six copies on order with five holds. This comes out next month. Any takers?