“Birdsong” - Sebastian Faulks
Today one of our tutors shares her thoughts on the novel Birdsong. Birdsong is frequently listed on English and History syllabi and is commonly studied by students of both the A level & IBDP programmes.
Birdsong was published in 1993 and is the fourth novel by British author Sebastian Faulks. It is a harrowing tale of love, loss, war and suffering that begins in 1910 when Stephen Wraysford, a young and impressionable Englishman, arrives in Amiens, northern France to undertake a work assignment.
Faulks’ story spans three generations and follows Stephen from Amiens in 1910 to the trenches of the Western Front in 1916 where he is positioned as an infantry officer. Faulks paints a vivid picture of the horrors of war and hauntingly brings to light the suffering, pain and destruction caused by the First World War. Faulks intersperses this with the attempts of Stephen’s granddaughter, in 1970s London, to uncover his past and to ensure his experience is not forgotten.
Birdsong is regularly cited as being one of the UK’s favourite books - and for good reason, for Faulks’ writing is simply exquisite. In these challenging times in which we now find ourselves, perhaps it acts as a salutary reminder of the sacrifice made by so many over one hundred years ago. It was adapted for television by the BBC in 2012.
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