Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks

About the book

A novel of overwhelming emotional power, Birdsong is a story of love, death, sex and survival. Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, arrives in Amiens in northern France in 1910 to stay with the Azaire family, and falls in love with unhappily married Isabelle. But, with the world on the brink of war, the relationship falters, and Stephen volunteers to fight on the Western Front. His love for Isabelle forever engraved on his heart, he experiences the unprecedented horrors of that conflict – from which neither he nor any reader of this book can emerge unchanged.

Reviewed by Enjoying Books Reading Group:

We were unanimous in our praise for this book. Extremely well constructed, sensitive writing with an excellent story line. We all felt that we had learnt a lot about the war from his very thorough research.
Star rating: ****

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8 thoughts on “Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks”

  1. Review by Fordingbridge Reading Group:
    A mixed response to this book, some actively disliking it and others finding it a very realistic (sometimes too much so) story based mainly in the trenches of the First World War. It is true the scenes at the front are harrowing and do, as someone said, “go on and on” but perhaps this is to reinforce the reality that did indeed seem unending to those existing out there. Certainly a moving book that makes the reader think about his/her own attitude to war and those who have to fight them.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by Fordingbridge Reading Group:
    A mixed response to this book, some actively disliking it and others finding it a very realistic (sometimes too much so) story based mainly in the trenches of the First World War. It is true the scenes at the front are harrowing and do, as someone said, “go on and on” but perhaps this is to reinforce the reality that did indeed seem unending to those existing out there. Certainly a moving book that makes the reader think about his/her own attitude to war and those who have to fight them.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by Museum Book Group:
    An excellent read. The effect on the soldiers and their families in WW1. The horrors and carnage of ‘The Somme’. The endurance of the troops in the trenches. The follow on influence of this war on their descendants sixty years later.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Anton U3A Bookies:
    Our group found this a very powerful book. It is also educational in the sense that it tells a very true picture of the WWI. Well researched and well written.
    Star rating: **

  5. Review by Eastleigh Library Wednesday Group:
    Unanimously enjoyed. Vivid description of trench life in WWI. Strong emotional relationships, disillusionment and strength of human spirit very well portrayed. We found it satisfying that the fate of characters introduced at the beginning of the book were later told.
    Star rating: ****

  6. Review by Shipton Bellinger WI:
    The abiding memory of this book is the carnage of WW1. You are there in the trenches and tunnels. Birdsong is more than a history book. It takes us from a highly charged affair in pre-war France via the horrors of trench warfare to hope and resolution in the 1970s. Highly recommended.
    Star rating: ****

  7. Review by Andover Library reading group:
    For the first time the whole gorup liked, enjoyed, learnt from this book. Some did not like Part 1 much, but on the whole a few thought it was a necessary devise to put the 1st World War in context.
    Rating: ****

  8. Circuit Reading Group
    A very good and lively discussion – really thought provoking.
    Excellent descriptive writing, particularly of the Somme. A positive response by the whole group.
    Star rating: ***+

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