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Sebastian Faulks is the Master of Condensing Complex Experience...

By Shannawilson @shanna_wilson
Sebastian Faulks is the master of condensing complex experience...

Sebastian Faulks is the master of condensing complex experience into eloquent period drama. Geoffrey goes off to war, and in his short time serving, lives out the mental wounds for the rest of his life.

Not unlike today’s soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan:

It had become a matter of urgency to Geoffrey that he should pass this first test of his resumed life. If he could not endure a friendly hour of beer and cigarettes with Baxter, what chance did he have of teaching a class or reading the New Testament lesson in church?

Billy is a product of 1850’s Dickens era London poor. Sent off to a workhouse at a young age, he meets a girl there who he ends up marrying years later. But his life becomes very complicated, despite his simple means. Of his new life post workhouse: “I guess we were happy. I never had time to ask.”

The other stories in the book, are based around a female. But my favorite is the voice of Billy.

An interview with the author is available at Minnesota Public Radio’s website, where he reads an excerpt from Billy’s life, complete with his version of how he would’ve sounded. Birdsong is probably the most famous of Faulks work, but Charlotte Gray and the Girl at the Lion D’Or all bear the mark of an author who gets history styled right. 

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