A Soldier of the Great War

Front Cover
Harcourt, 2005 - Fiction - 860 pages
35 Reviews

From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic about love, beauty, and the world at war

 

Alessandro Giuliani, the young son of a prosperous Roman lawyer, enjoys an idyllic life full of privilege: he races horses across the country to the sea, he climbs mountains in the Alps, and, while a student of painting at the ancient university in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the Great War intervenes. Half a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate young factory worker on the road. As they walk toward Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the old man—a soldier and a hero who became a prisoner and then a deserter, wandering in the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically lost one family and gained another. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro's experiences, realizes that this magnificent tale is not merely a story: it's a recapitulation of his life, his reckoning with mortality, and above all, a love song for his family.

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Helprin's gift for prose is unparalleled. - Goodreads
Creative writing teachers are always preaching a hook. - Goodreads
Helprin ignores this advice completely. - Goodreads
You can open to any page and find poetry in prose. - Goodreads

Review: A Soldier of the Great War

User Review  - Irene - Goodreads

The book opens and closes with 74-year-old Alessandro imparting life's great wisdom to a young stranger as they walk the hills outside of Rome. In between, we are told of Alessandro's experiences as a ... Read full review

Review: A Soldier of the Great War

User Review  - Dangermousie - Goodreads

I really wish a review could do justice to this overwhelming, poetic, haunting book about loss, family, love, the brutal absurdity of war and impermanence of life, but it can't. It's been haunting me ... Read full review

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About the author (2005)

Mark Helprin was born in Manhattan, New York on June 28, 1947. He received degrees from Harvard College and Harvard's Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and did postgraduate work at the University of Oxford, Princeton University, and Columbia University. He has served in the British Merchant Navy, the Israeli infantry, and the Israeli Air Force. He is the author of numerous novels including Refiner's Fire, A Soldier of the Great War, Memoir from Antproof Case, Freddy and Fredericka, and In Sunlight and In Shadow. Winter's Tale was adapted into a movie in 2014. His short story collection, Ellis Island and Other Stories, was nominated for a National Book Award in 1981. His other short story collections include A Dove of the East and Other Stories and The Pacific and Other Stories. He also writes children's books including Swan Lake, A City in Winter, and The Veil of Snows. He has received several awards including the National Jewish Book Award, the Prix de Rome, the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award in 2006, and the Salvatori Prize in the American Founding in 2010.

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