“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "WWII"
Robbie Arnott: Untamed nature

Robbie Arnott: Untamed nature

In the heat of a Tasmanian summer, with the world at war and his brothers away on secretive missions in the Pacific, 15-year-old Ned West traps, shoots and skins rabbits to sell their pelts in the hope of saving to buy a small boat. As his father and older sister struggle to keep the riverside...
Amanda Lees: Her secret service

Amanda Lees: Her secret service

MUCH HAS BEEN WRITTEN about the virtues of dedication, service and sacrifice in the wake of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. The internet is flooded with photos of her in her youth. The ones of her in uniform training to become a driver and mechanic during the Second World War are as inspirational today...
Knowing who the real monsters are

Knowing who the real monsters are

A crucial juncture in world history was the encounter between the Helleno-Judeo-Christian tradition on the one hand, and the new tenets of Islam on the other. It manifested itself with particularly momentous poignancy on the intellectual plane through a single concept, upon which depended almost everything that mattered: the right to existence itself, cultural, national,...
t + 0: 1944

t + 0: 1944

The light is grey and sullen; a smoulder, a flare choking on the soot of its own burning, and leaking only a little of its power into the visible spectrum. The rest is heat and motion. But for now the burn-line still creeps inside the warhead’s casing. It is a thread-wide front of change propagating...
Wise parables and meaningful tales

Wise parables and meaningful tales

Specific leitmotifs dominate any attempt to weave together a narrative of the history of Romania and Hungary during the Second World War: the complex, troubled, vital historical background of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires, and the emergent territorial claims of the Soviet Union; the cultural, ethnic and demographic tessellation of the region; the inalienable plexus...
The secret mission

The secret mission

In the few days that had elapsed since the ghetto was set up in the little Carpathian town of Ostrov, the Jewish Council, the so-called Judenrat, had succeeded in being neither good nor bad, but rather in being wholly naïve. Appointed chairman of the council, Mr Faivel Fischknopf was an elderly Jew with a little...
A clandestine Christmas

A clandestine Christmas

One day I went with the general 1 to the Swedish Legation to get some protective passports for his daughters. I met there a young man – one of the most handsome young men I have ever seen – in the garb of a Catholic priest. I looked at him,then looked again, and sure enough,...
"We can fight with the mind"

“We can fight with the mind”

Sybil Oldfield’s The Black Book: The Britons on the Nazi Hitlist is, at first sight, an anthology of lives under terrible threat – a breathless, deeply personal, yet unflinching account of an impressive array of the many biographical journeys, the individual circumstances and diverse fates that earned 2,619 men and women an uncoveted place on...
Plagued

Plagued

Emma Donoghue’s The Pull of the Stars tells the story of overworked nurse Julia Power, her eager young helper Bridie Sweeney, and the real-life figure of Kathleen Lynn, a Sinn Féin politician, activist and medical doctor, as they battle the Great Flu of 1918 in the emergency maternity ward of a Dublin hospital. The intense...
The dream of Norway

The dream of Norway

In 1920, two years after the end of WWI, the League of Nations officially began its work of rebuilding the world. It was a grand scheme, a tremendous dream, a triumph of a reconstituted modernity, and the legacy of enlightenment humanism over militarism, colonialism, barbarity and tribalist divisionism. It should have been idealistic. It has...
History from the wings

History from the wings

In times of crisis, sociohistorical impasses, and what the French scholar John Cruickshank has termed, on a different occasion, the despair in the face of “man’s metaphysical dereliction in the world”, the individual and collective instinct is to turn to parallels, contrasts, and to recent or very distant memory. To familiar or unfamiliar territory. We...
After all that we were, what shall we be?

After all that we were, what shall we be?

The war that would slash modern history, our contemporary awareness of humanity, into before and after, leaving a gaping void between the two states, seems not to have happened at all in the opening pages of Annette Hess’ ambitious and complex debut novel The German House. It is 1963, the year of Hitchcock’s The Birds,...