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El retorn del soldat (1918)

de Rebecca West

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,3587210,666 (3.91)575
The soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper's daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice - to leave him where he wishes to be, or to 'cure' him. It is Margaret who reveals a love so great that she can make the final sacrifice.… (més)
  1. 40
    Un Mes al camp de J. L. Carr (Widsith)
    Widsith: Two excellent, but very different, novels about damaged English soldiers returning home from the First World War with shell-shock.
  2. 10
    El que resta del dia de Kazuo Ishiguro (fannyprice)
  3. 00
    This Real Night de Rebecca West (davidcla)
    davidcla: The sending off of the soldier to WW1.
  4. 00
    Jacob's Room de Virginia Woolf (davidcla)
  5. 00
    L'edat de la innocència de Edith Wharton (amanda4242)
  6. 00
    Between the Sword and the Wall: a novel of World War I de Thomas De Angelo (Charles77)
  7. 00
    The Return of Captain John Emmett de Elizabeth Speller (inge87)
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» Mira també 575 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 72 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Upper class man, Chris Baldry, becomes a Captain in the British Army and goes off to fight in the trenches of World War I. Something happens, we never know what, but it leaves him with no physical injuries but a total loss of memory of the last fifteen years. His aristocratic wife Kitty and his cousin Jenny only learn of his condition when Mrs. Grey, a lower class woman appears at their doorstep to let them know that she has received letters from Captain Baldry who's been writing from a hospital. This comes as a surprise which they dismiss as a vile attempt to get money rather than the ugly truth. Eventually they realize Mrs. Grey had once been Margaret Allington and the Chris Baldry had fallen in love with her fifteen years ago but the class difference was too much. Captain Baldry comes home only to not recognize his wife or the home which they together had altered in many ways. He could only see the house as it as before and desperately wanted to see his true love Margaret Allington.

Great set up but how does this get worked out. Eventually to humor Chris they invite Mrs. Grey to return since she is the only person he wants to be with. The rejected wife sulks in the background while Margaret and Chris rekindle their feelings. By coincidence both had lost a young son. Eventually Mrs. Grey realizes it's up to her to break it to Chris and uses the deceased son's clothing as evidence. This raises the question whose "happiness" is more important. Chris was blissfully happy believing that it's still fifteen years in the past and nothing has happened since. By bringing him into the present it's the return of the soldier, much less happy and possibly even needing to return to the war. His wife is happy.

The upper class rejection of everything below them was too much for me. Yes there's lots of beauty, beautiful house, garden, and clothes. It's the interpersonal rejection which made it impossible for me to like the characters. Fortunately this is a very short book. Not a book I recommend unless one wants to see what was wrong with English society. ( )
  Ed_Schneider | May 26, 2021 |
I've known of Rebecca West for quite a while due to her affair with H. G. Wells which has been the subject of books and plays. In 2016 I read her book Harriet Hume but I wasn't overly impressed so I hadn't picked up any more books by her until this book was recommended in the LibraryThing 1001 Books group as being excellent. And it was! Hard to believe this is a first novel as every sentence seems exquisite.

The story is quite simple. Captain Chris Baldry has been injured while fighting for the British forces during World War I. He has lost the last 10 years from his memory which means that he does not remember his wife Kitty. He does remember Margaret who was the young woman he loved 10 years ago and it was Margaret who received the notification that Chris was injured. Margaret is now married herself and leaves not too far from the Baldry estate so she comes to the house to break the news to Kitty. When Chris is brought home from France he only wants to see Margaret who comes every afternoon to spend time with him. If Chris can be made to regain those 10 lost years he will probably be sent back to the fighting but if he continues with the memory loss he will be continually confused and unhappy. All this is narrated by his cousin Jenny who seems to have lived with her cousin and his wife for some years. She cares for all three of the people in this triangle and yet she hopes that Chris can be spared having to return to the Front.

Here's one example of the writing at pp. 37 and 38 that is found throughout this gem of a book:
In the liquefaction of colours which happens on a summer evening, when the green grass seemed like a precious fluid poured out on the earth and dripping over to the river, and the chestnut candles were no longer proud flowers, but just wet white lights in the humid mass of the tree, when the brown earth seemed just a little denser than the water, Margaret also participated.
Can't you just picture that scene? ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 23, 2020 |
This review will contain spoilers so don't read it if you don't want to know anything.

This is a short work, novella at most with about 99 pages widely spaced. It could be read in quick order but there is a lot packed into these pages. The story is set in WWI, and really centers on 3 women and how they relate to Chris, a young man who has returned from the war with amnesia. Rebecca West wrote this in 1918. It is a psychological novel, modernistic, as well as a work by a feminist. WWII changed life as it was previously known. In this war, the people in the home front were aware of the violence through films. The themes revolve around
1. the return of the soldier (starting pages and in the end). First it is reference to soldier returning to the home but it also the return of Chris from his transference/amnesia where he blocks out his life with Jenny and remembers a happier time that he spent with Margaret.
2. home, house, nature. Kitty has created a house that is perfect but false, it is separate and incongruent with Chris's memories and with nature. The author writes about these details beautifully.
3. The three women. Jenny the narrator is at best unreliable. She is Chris's cousin, secretly in love with Chris and at opposition to Jenny. She must be living with Jenny maybe as attendant as young women do sometimes. Maybe she was suppose to be the child's nurse. Kitty the wife he marries. We never know how or why he married Kitty. They've been married for awhile. Lost a child and we know there will never be another child but not why. Did this marriage grow apart even before the war. Kitty likes everything to be neat, she doesn't like or tolerate any disruption to perfection. Margaret was the young love of Chris. They broke up because of a misunderstanding that was never resolved because Chris had to leave to attend to a family affair and then they never connected to each other until the amnesia, when he writes to her again. Margaret agrees to see him and is the vehicle of returning the soldier to his previous life--life as a soldier who will return to the battle as well as to his marriage to Kitty. The story is not so much about trauma to the soldier but the impact of war on these three women. Kitty especially wishes to preserve the prewar life. Jenny and Kitty are closed into their prewar past as much as Chris is locked into his prewar past. Jenny sees Chris in the trenches and interestingly also describes her vision of his encounter with Margaret with the same visuals; “there he was, running across the lawn as night after night I had seen him run across No Man’s Land…" This debut novel is rich in details, rich in exploration of the changes occurring in the wake of WWI, and to the home and family. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 8, 2020 |
Please note that I gave this book 4.5 stars, but rounded it up to 5 stars on Goodreads.

I read this story for The Dead Writers Society, 2016 Genre Fiction August 2016 book.

This story is (expletive) up. Seriously. You have a husband and wife separated by World War I. The husband's cousin is living with the wife and seems to sit around with constantly wet eyes thinking about "their Chris". And then the wife (Kitty) finds out that her husband who she loves is wounded with amnesia/shell shock and does not recall her or their life together. Instead he remembers a younger love and goes around telling people he will just die if he can't see/be with her. This story is (expletive) up.

So I disliked the character of Jenny (cousin to Chris) a lot. She had ever changing loyalties about what needed to be done about Chris. And depending on the way that the clouds were moving in the sky shifted her loyalties to her cousin, his wife, or his cousin's old love. Can you tell I did not care for her? Cause I did not.

I felt the most for Kitty who though she seems hard hearted, you realize she has suffered losses as well. She wants her husband to come back to her so they can resume their lives together again. This latest issue has her barely holding it together, and she at times gets to she Jenny for the grasping piece of crap she is (yep, still hate Jenny).

Chris you don't get a sense of much at all besides his selfishness. I get that he had shell shock and amnesia. But after being told by the 20th person around that things had changed, all he wanted to do was sit around and be around his old love Margaret. Of course that wasn't going to be able to be his future forever. The fact that Margaret and Jenny even entertained the notion drove me up the wall.

The writing was very good, but told from Jenny's point of view I think at times you realize that her words are at odds with what is going on. The flow was great too because you just keep reading and reading and wondering what in the heck is the ending going to reveal.

I thought the setting of the house from a happy shining place to a place that became cold and indifferent was sad. I can see how the war would change Chris from the younger man who had the whole world in front of him, to one who experienced a terrible war and also other losses in his life.

The ending set things up as the most bitter ending to a book I can remember in a time. I think in that instance Jenny realized what would happen if her and Kitty got "their Chris" back. So one wonders, what would have been best for him and them? ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
Written during WWI, I honestly thought this would be more about the war, but no, we get a sneaky peek into the inner workings of a man who came home, shell-shocked, only to find himself in an untenable position.

What? Has his wife left him for another man? No. He seems to have another kind of problem. ED? No, no, no... MEMORY LOSS. Sheesh. People.

Seriously though, this is a great snapshot of a time when so many men were voiceless. Indeed, as seen through the three women in his life... his wife, his old fiancé, and a female cousin... he's still pretty voiceless. The trick is in reading between the lines, or inferring from everything that happens in this plot and sometimes in letters we're not privy to, that gives this soldier his voice.

This is a romance, folks. A fascinating one, even. Lots of gray areas. And three women who only want to see him be happy.

Of course, the issue is clear and clearly horrible to contemplate.

A very thought provoking novella.

And for those of you who love period pieces and revel in really awkward class stratifications, this is also for you. :) ( )
1 vota bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 72 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Though its style is occasionally a trifle strained, a trifle "Precious," the novel is on the whole, well written, and its plot well handled.
afegit per christiguc | editaNew York Times (Mar 10, 1918)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (23 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Rebecca Westautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Glendinning, VictoriaIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Hynes, SamuelIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jones, SadieEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Jones, SadieIntroduccióautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
May, NadiaNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vidal, LauraTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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'Ah, don't begin to fuss!' wailed Kitty; 'if a woman began to worry in these days because her husband hadn't written to her for a fortnight -- !'
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We had suffered no transfiguration, for we are as we are, and there is nothing more to us. The whole truth about us lies in our material seeming. He sighs a deep sigh of delight and puts out his hand to the ball where Margaret shines. His sleeve catches the other one and sends it down to crash in a thousand pieces on the floor. The old man's smile continues to be lewd and benevolent; he is still not more interested in me than in the bare-armed woman. No one weeps for this shattering of our world.
...how entirely right Chris had been in his assertion that to lovers innumerable things do not matter.
"I don't know anybody in Wealdstone." That is the name of the red suburban stain which fouls the fields three miles nearer London than Harrowweald.
All her life long Margaret, who in her time had partaken of the inalienable dignity of a requited love, had lived with men who wore carpet slippers in the house.
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Wikipedia en anglès (2)

The soldier returns from the front to the three women who love him. His wife, Kitty, with her cold, moonlight beauty, and his devoted cousin Jenny wait in their exquisite home on the crest of the Harrow-weald. Margaret Allington, his first and long-forgotten love, is nearby in the dreary suburb of Wealdstone. But the soldier is shell-shocked and can only remember the Margaret he loved fifteen years before, when he was a young man and she an inn-keeper's daughter. His cousin he remembers only as a childhood playmate; his wife he remembers not at all. The women have a choice - to leave him where he wishes to be, or to 'cure' him. It is Margaret who reveals a love so great that she can make the final sacrifice.

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