Thursday, February 11, 2021

271. The Return of the Soldier

The Return of the Soldier
Rebecca West
Around 100 pages

I have been loving the frequent appearances of female authors on the List lately. The List tends to overdose on specific female authors like Virginia Woolf and Edith Wharton (love you, ladies), so we don't get the one-offs as much as we do with the men. After reading this novel, I am looking forward to the other Rebecca West entries on the List.

Our narrator, Jenny, is anxiously awaiting the return of her cousin, Chris, who is fighting for England in France. Jenny is keeping Chris's wife Kitty company as they wait for news and keep the Baldry estate up and running. One day, they are told by an unlikely informant that Chris is alive, but has no memory of the past 15 years. This makes things hella awkward, because Chris is still pining for Margaret, the girl he was in love with at 15. Not to mention he has no memory of his son's existence.

I loved the choice of narrator here. In some ways, she's much more reliable narrator than Kitty would have been. We are almost tricked into thinking she is impartial, then her hero worshipping of Margaret begins. I also thought it was fascinating that three such different characters had to decide among themselves what the cost of dignity should be. 

A brilliantly weaved tale, and can't wait to see what else she has in store for us.

RATING: ****-

Interesting Facts:

Made into a stage musical in 2014. I'm sorry, what?

UP NEXT: Tarr by Wyndham Lewis. 

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