Fortunes of War

ISBN-10: 1590173317
ISBN-13: 9781590173312
Edition: 2009
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Description: The Fortunes of Waris a teeming, complex, and rich novel, alive with the uncertainty and adventure of civilian life during wartime. Olivia Manning has filled the pages of this epic work with vivid characters who, over the course of nearly a thousand  More...

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Book details

Copyright year: 2009
Publisher: New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 928
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 2.00" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

The Fortunes of Waris a teeming, complex, and rich novel, alive with the uncertainty and adventure of civilian life during wartime. Olivia Manning has filled the pages of this epic work with vivid characters who, over the course of nearly a thousand pages, tell the larger story of Europe during the trauma of the Second World War. Harriet and Guy Pringle are young newlyweds when they arrive in Bucharest from England, eager to experience life in that cosmopolitan city. It is the autumn of 1939, only a few weeks after Germany's invasion of Poland, and nobody thinks the war will go on for very longthough troop movements and treaties are the only topic of conversation. By the time the Pringles realize that they are in the middle of a worldwide conflict, it is too late to return home. The only thing to do is to join the great mass of displaced peopleWhite Russians, journalists, attaches, and con artistsand move east to Athens. Manning's mastery of the long form allows her to expand both outward and inward, tackling complexities of world politics and interpersonal relationships with equal panache.

Jane Smiley was born in Los Angeles and educated at Vassar College and the University of Iowa. She is currently a professor of English at Iowa State University. Her first critically acclaimed novel, The Greenlanders (1988), was preceded by three other novels and a highly regarded short story collection, The Age of Grief (1987). Smiley's novel A Thousand Acres (1991) received both the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Like King Lear, to which it invites comparisons, the novel deals with the division of property, a father, three daughters, and the powerful feelings and secret crimes that bind them. Familial relations preoccupy Smiley throughout her works. "I think the tensions of family life are the interesting things to talk about since I accept the closeness of family as a given," she commented in an interview. She eyes the shifting ground of love relations without illusion, yet with sympathy: her portrait of marriage through the meditations of a 35-year-old dentist and father of three girls in The Age of Grief (1987) conveys beautifully the compromises of closeness and the intensities and confusions of ordinary life."Everything I write, I write in a sort of investigative mode," Smiley has said, "and to me an interesting character is a person who is trying to figure out what's right and trying to reconcile everything that they are told with what their feelings are. I think my characters are usually trying to come up with some right way to act, or even to think or be, in the face of a lot of confusing input."

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