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The Return of the Soldier

Rebecca West

Book Overview: 

In 1916 on an isolated country estate just outside London, Captain Chris Baldry, a shell-shocked captain suffering from amnesia, makes a bittersweet homecoming to the three women who have helped shape his life. Will the devoted wife he can no longer recollect, the favorite cousin he remembers only as a childhood friend, and the poor innkeeper’s daughter he once courted leave Chris to languish in a safe, dreamy past–or will they help him recover his memory so that he can return to the front? The answer is revealed through a heart-wrenching, unexpected sacrifice. (Summary from Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .You should think yourself very lucky that I don't hand you over to the police." She shrilled a little before she came to the end. "Please go!"

"Kitty!" I breathed. I was so ashamed that such a scene should spring from Chris's peril at the front that I wanted to go out into the garden and sit by the pond until the poor thing had removed her deplorable umbrella, her unpardonable raincoat, her poor frustrated fraud. But Mrs. Grey, who had begun childishly and deliberately, "It's you who are being—" and had desisted simply because she realized that there were no harsh notes on her lyre, and that she could not strike these chords that others found so easy, had fixed me with a certain wet, clear, patient gaze. It is the gift of animals and those of peasant stock. From the least regarded, from an old horse nosing over a gate, or a drab in a work-house ward, it wrings the heart. From this woman—I said checkingly:

"Kitty!" and reconciled her in an und. . . Read More

Community Reviews

It’s a good news bad news kind of thing. Bad news is your husband has been away serving in the trenches in World War One and you haven't heard anything from him for a while. The good news is that you find out that your husband is physically well. Bad news is that he might have shell shock. Good news

3 stars

I can sum things up here with an oxymoron: This one was too much work and too leisurely for me. Plus I didn’t connect with three of the main characters. Sounds like a one star, doesn't it? Well, no.

Let me explain. By too much work, I mean this one required my full attention. No distractions a

Fan de esta novela corta, especialmente por el estilo tan delicado, sutil y nostálgico que utiliza la autora.
He disfrutado muchísimo de cada página, además es increíble cómo logra atraparte con una historia tan sencilla gracias a la manera en que va desvelando las claves de la trama poco a poco y c

Incidente di guerra
Primo romanzo di Rebecca West, allora (1918) ventiquattrenne.
Un libro che ha la freschezza e l'incanto propri della giovinezza, anche se con qualche limite di un'opera concepita quando non si è ancora al vertice della maturità.
Una scrittura fiorita ed emozionante che rappresenta

I shudder to think of what soldiers have to witness whist taking to the battlefield, regardless of what war they were fighting in. Some return home bathed in glory, but for others mental anguish and post traumatic stress can be emotionally paralyzing. What though of shell shock?, unable to remember

"I heard, amazed, his step ring strong upon the stone, for I had felt his absence as a kind of death from which he would emerge ghostlike, impalpable."

Two women await the return of a soldier, Chris, from World War I. His wife, Kitty, is an upper-class woman, still mourning the death of their child.

I knew immediately when I started this that I was hooked. The writing grabbed me from the start. Then later I marveled at how expertly the characters were drawn; what they did and said and thought all meshed perfectly. Finally what fascinated me was the theme, the book's central question. Do you for

This review contains spoilers.

Chris Baldry is the soldier in the novel, an English soldier returning from the battlefield of WWI, and he is suffering shell-shock which has erased the last 15 years of his memory. He is returning to three women; Kitty, his wife who he does not remember at all; Jenny,

How could you not enjoy a book that includes the idea of "an over-confiding explanation made by a shabby visitor while using the door-mat almost too zealously"?

PLOT
In this slim novel set during WW1, Charles and Kitty live in tasteful opulence, along with his cousin Jenny, who tells the story of Cha

I'll tell you I think the Second World War was much more comfortable because in the First World War the position of women was so terrible, because there you were, not in danger. Men were going out and getting killed for you and you'd much prefer they weren't. […] There was a genuine humanitarian fee

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