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19 March 2008 @ 07:30 pm
Yes, I do realise this is my first book post of the year  
So the RWA is having a crackdown on internet piracy. Of all the organisations in the world, it's THEM. I say they can go fuck themselves. Oh wait, they're the experts on that already aren't they? Honestly, as long as books and television and movies are not accessible to all then piracy will always remain a need and a necessity. The RWA can go and find some bigger fish to fry, or make that bigger bosoms, because quite frankly just posting a blacklist of sites isn't going to curb the rate at which piracy is expanding.

Of course it might be a catch-22 because music sites and some book retailers (Dymocks for example) have embraced the digital download, with mixed success, but give people an incentive to want to buy your product and you might not need to make such a calculated crackdown on so-called perpetrators.

Anyhoo, my first review for 08 -- I read this one all the way back in January.

The Soldier's Return by Melvyn Bragg

Now you all know that I love my World War II (and the occasional WWI) fiction, and this novel does not disappoint.
In 1946, Englishman Sam Richardson returns to his wife and young son after fighting in the "Forgotten War" in Burma. Like so many who fought beside him and lived to return, Sam feels suffocated by life in tiny rural Wigton. The men who were left behind ask too many painful questions, and nightmares rob Sam of sleep. Work is scarce and demeaning, and rebuilding his life with his wife, Ellen, and young son, Joe, is fraught with awkwardness, misunderstanding, and frustration. Ellen wants a home with a garden and maybe a second child, and Sam is tempted by the government's offer of relocation to Australia. In the end, readjustment nearly destroys Sam's family.
I really enjoyed this story. Sam's frustration, inner rage and loneliness is palpable and raw -- the shell shock doesn't just die along with the war, it stays forever, embedded in the minds and hearts of the soldiers who were lucky to return home. The drama of village life is understated, and gives off an air of careless indulgence and ignorance that I found irritating, but completely relevant in the context. If you're looking for an epic romance stay clear because this will quickly bore you. In spite of Sam's angst about everything in his life, there is hope yet: the final chapters are exquisite, ending in a heartwarming manner.

Verdict: 3.5/5 -- An honest and also devastating story of the effect the war has left on its humble survivors and those lucky enough to not have witnessed it.

I just realised this is the first part of a trilogy; alas I only have the first and third novels which is highly convenient...