The Literature of War

Edited by Thomas Riggs & Company, Missoula, Montana
St. James Press, 2012
American Library Association’s 2013 RUSA Award, Booklist Editors’ Choice, 2012

Extracts

“Harvest of Thorns (1989) is a novel by Shimmer Chinodya (1957-) about Zimbabwe’s war for independence from British rule and the turbulent years immediately after liberation. Covering a period in the country’s history from the 1950s to the 1980s, Harvest of Thorns follows Benjamin Tichafa, a young man who chafes under his parents’ fervent brand of Christianity and is swept up in the political uprisings taking place throughout what was then called Rhodesia. Benjamin eventually runs away to Mozambique and joins the guerrilla freedom fighters in their war against the white minority Rhodesian government, but when the war ends and Benjamin returns home, he finds a new set of unexpected challenges and disappointments waiting.” (Thomas Riggs & Company, Missoula, Montana).

“Muriel Spark, widely considered one of the most important English-language novelists of the post-World War II era, made her reputation as an author of short, elliptical narratives whose savage humor and light touch belie their metaphysical seriousness. The Girls of Slender Means, first published in 1963, is an account of life in a London hostel for single women during the closing months of World War II. The young women of the May of Teck Club, as the hostel is called, are more concerned with romantic adventures and their clothing rations than with the dangers of war. This inattentiveness to the violence of war stems not from selfishness but from the kind of stoicism typical of bomb-ravaged London at the time: ‘There was absolutely no point in feeling depressed about the scene,’ Spark writes, ‘it would have been like feeling depressed about the Grand Canyon or some event of the earth outside everybody’s scope.’” (Thomas Riggs & Company, Missoula, Montana).