Sunday, 19 December 2010

There's No Home by Alexander Baron

An unheard of book by an unheard of author, kindly lent me by the publisher of a reissue of said unheard etc, coming in Spring next year. This is a very good book, originally published in 1949 (but as fresh now as then), describing "the dream time between battles" spent by a company of British infantry in a town in Sicily during the second world war. There is a hint of Captain Corelli about it, but it is closer to home, more familiar. It describes relations between the soldiers and the (mostly) women of the street in which they find themselves billeted. In particular it tells the story of Sergeant Craddock, married to a woman he hardly knows, and Graziella, a passionate wife of a man who has gone missing while fighting in North Africa. And if ever there was a story to justify adultery this is it. There is in their tale the innocence of true, brief love, and while the inevitable end is sad, its sweetness depends upon that sadness. A lovely, true book, and highly recommended. Please look out for it.

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