Thursday, November 15, 2018

Top ten novels about the First World War

Daniel Mason is a physician and author of The Piano Tuner (2002), A Far Country (2007), and The Winter Soldier ​(2018). His work has been translated into 28 languages and adapted for opera and theater. A Far Country was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Northern California Book Award. His short stories and essays have appeared in Harper’s, Zoetrope: All Story and Lapham’s Quarterly; in 2014 he was a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Clinical Assistant Professor in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry, his research and teaching interests include the subjective experience of mental illness and the influence of literature, history, and culture on the practice of medicine.

One of Mason's top ten novels about the First World War, as shared at the Guardian:
The Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek

Hašek’s meandering, unfinished comedy tells the story of a dog thief turned soldier, who blusters, pranks and malingers his way through the early days of the war. Some of the sequences are so funny I often found myself laughing out loud, but the darkness of the humour only highlights the suffering of those caught up in the conflict. Here, the unrelenting portrayals of a cynical bureaucracy extend Švejk’s lessons beyond the first world war, and to all wars, offering a sardonic blueprint for resistance against the structures of faceless power.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Good Soldier Svejk is among Michael Honig's top ten satires and Tim Pears's top ten 20th-century political novels.

--Marshal Zeringue