Thursday, 1 January 2015

The Return of The Soldier by Rebecca West

" So Kitty lay about like a broken doll, face downward on a sofa, with one limp arm dangling to the floor, or protruding stiff feet in fantastic slippers from the end of her curtained bed; and I tried to make my permanent wear that mood which had mitigated the end of my journey with Margaret "

A harrowing look at the after effects of war that is brilliantly rendered. You can really feel the emotions here giving a sense of the contemporary to a book that was published in 1918.
Before PTSD was a commonly known phenomenon, particularly in relation to the horrors of war, this gives an insight into the impact on the loved ones waiting at home for their returning warriors.

The narrator, is the cousin of the returning soldier, who sees first hand the outcome of the return of her shell shocked cousin, Chris, from the battlefield on his family. Kitty, Chris' wife, has struggled with stoicism through the lack of communication from the front and is initially incredulous that her loving husband can no longer remember she exists.

Beautifully written and moving, it is amazing that so much emotion can be derived from such a short story that still retains its resonance today.

 5 out of 5

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