A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin

By Mark Helprin

From acclaimed novelist Mark Helprin, a lush, literary epic approximately love, good looks, and the area at war

Alessandro Giuliani, the younger son of a filthy rich Roman attorney, enjoys an idyllic lifestyles choked with privilege: he races horses around the kingdom to the ocean, he climbs mountains within the Alps, and, whereas a pupil of portray on the old college in Bologna, he falls in love. Then the good battle intervenes. part a century later, in August of 1964, Alessandro, a white-haired professor, tall and proud, meets an illiterate younger manufacturing unit employee at the street. As they stroll towards Monte Prato, a village seventy kilometers away, the outdated man—a soldier and a hero who turned a prisoner after which a deserter, wandering within the hell that claimed Europe—tells him how he tragically misplaced one family members and received one other. The boy, envying the richness and drama of Alessandro's reviews, realizes that this wonderful story isn't basically a narrative: it's a recapitulation of his existence, his reckoning with mortality, and mainly, a love music for his kin.

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Nothing but aggression and selfishness and grog. It didn’t feel like he loved me. It was more like he hated me, wanted to attack me. Even in the old days, at school in Wirrawee, I’d noticed that a lot of boys who made a big deal about their girlfriends and their great sex lives seemed to have almost a hatred for girls. All at the same time. It was weird. But I felt the same thing in Adam. Lee was never like that. I was the one who’d stuffed him around. He’d always been generous with me. Like at the airport in New Zealand, walking back to the waiting area after we’d had our coffee.

Lee was on the opposite side of the street, so that if either of us wanted to warn the 50 Kiwis about something dangerous we could do it easily: I’d tell Tim as I went past him, and Lee would tell Ursula. We were going along Warrigle Road, not far from the Mathers’, and I knew I’d have to struggle not to be affected by that. We’d spent a lot of happy times at Robyn’s place: my parents and I had gone there for barbeques every few months, and one drought year, when our swimming dam dried up, I’d practically lived in their pool.

But we’re in quite a good spot. About a k and a half from the track. It’s a bit of a bush-bash to get to it. There’s no way there’ll be any soldiers around here though. ’ I was all set to lead them straight off into the bush but Iain pulled out his thin little flashlight and made me show him on the map where we were. I think he wanted to reassure himself that I knew what I was talking about. But Kay helped when she said: ‘She knows the place backwards, Iain. ’ I realised that to Kay, who was from Auckland, it must have seemed like magic.

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