When a German medical unit establish a field hospital in Leo Tolstoy's former country estate, army surgeon Paul Bauer meets Russian writer and custodian of the estate, Katerina Trubetzkaya. It is 1941 and a brutal Russian winter and an ignominious retreat are on their way ...
Threaded through with the Tolstoy classic War and Peace, and with a close attention to detail, this captivating book is a story to savour as it balances the horrors of war with the universal power of literature. [Large sized book]
Quite a different insight into the 2nd World War. We enjoyed the variation of this book. A bit slow in the middle.
Everyone that read it, really liked it.
We all found the book fascinating and two of us are going to read 'War and Peace' again. We had a very interesting discussion about learning from our mistakes - men and war and guns.
Everybody loved this book - one of the best we have read! Characterisation is superb and storyline very strong!
Unanimous verdict. 5/5. We all loved this book and couldn't put it down. So beautifully written, so descriptive, so clever. Some of our group have been stimulated to re-read 'War and Peace'.
A wonderful sad love story with an insight into a period of history we knew little about, the German invasion of Russia. They were so confident of winning in a climate and terrain they were ill prepared for. The circumstances surrounding this love story prevented it going far, but some beautiful writing of feelings and overcoming political adversity.
Enjoyed by all members. Quite eye-opening about details of war/soldiers in Russia ( Germans). Learned much about Tolstoy's background which was interesting to all.
Once settled into reading this book all our group found it thoroughly engrossing. The characters, the storyline, the style of writing, the setting - all so well portrayed and developed. Notes and questions very good too.
All at our discussion group enjoyed the book - well written and all agreed they could feel/see the conditions in the Russian winter of '41 at Tolstoy's estate. The main character, Paul Bauer, was sincere and dedicated to his role as a surgeon.
This book was enjoyed by all members of the book group. More than a couple were tempted to tackle 'War and Peace' after this story. They found the glimpse of life at the front very real and it was a very well told story.
Liked the story, some loved the medical/surgical descriptions and others didn't. We found the main character 'not very German'. The letters were a bit of a jolt, but some really liked them.
We all decided that this beautifully written book was definitely the best we read this year. Carefully crafted, wonderfully detailed characters - we just loved it. A joy to read.
This was a bitter sweet novel of war, love and literature and we all rated it very highly. There were horrifying accounts of the numbing cold, the unpreparedness of the German army, the pointlessness of war and the varying ways that individuals deal with it all. Tolstoy's estate and War and Peace somehow brought it all to life.
The group enjoyed the book. The characters were well drawn and the descriptions of surgery in the field hospital very vivid. The most disagreement in our discussion was over the use of the later letters which interrupted the historical sequence of the narration, and whether they should have been left until the end. Recommended.