1914 – by Jean Echenoz – independent book review – Historical Fiction (World War I)

This 119-page novella is a quick read that is beautifully and simply written, but also dramatic and and deeply emotional. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.

1914Through just a handful of powerful interwoven stories, Jean Echenoz shows World War I, with ALL its horror and futility. In fact, the war truly becomes the main character. Be warned though that little is left to the imagination.

Powerful descriptions of random death, sudden disfiguring injuries, and despondent soldiers are captured– using simple, sparse language. Echenoz even explores the intimate relationships between fighting Frenchmen in the trenches and all the different types of animals they encounter — domesticated farm survivors, wild animals subjected to poison gas, and rats and lice.

In this one short narrative, you’ll also find a vivid portrait of how the war impacted those left behind — from pregnant girlfriends to profiteering businesses, from mutineering soldiers to empty streets. It’s really quite an accomplishment for such a short narrative. VERY powerful!

More about the author Jean Echenoz.
Translated from the French by Linda Coverdale.

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