Monday, October 24, 2011

54. The Freebooters by Robert Wernick

I picked this one up warily, early on in my Maritimes trip.  I hadn't yet really made any great finds, so was a bit less choosy.  I loved the cover and it was in beautiful condition, but it looked more like one of those literary-type war books rather than one with lots of ass-kicking.  Well it turned out that my hunch was correct, but it was nevertheless kind of an enjoyable read.

It takes place near the end of the war, immediately after the allies have liberated Paris.  The narrator is one of those too intelligent, too cynical soldiers who spends most of his time drinking wine and reflecting on humanity and doing it in that weird pseudo-beat, pseudo-hemingway writing style which seems affected and mildly annoying in the gleaming of the noonday light against the metal ashtray while a prostitute screams from above.  Fortunately, this style was applied relatively lightly so it never became cloying.  The book details his adventures with a special unit.  Unfortunately, these adventures never involve actual combat, but because he and his two partners are fairly crazy, they keep getting into all kinds of romantic or criminal trouble.  The book flows from one weird post-war situation to the next.  Seeing the locations and the characters was quite enjoyable and somehow it all flowed together, even ultimately I couldn't really get the point of the book or care about anybody.

So a nice-looking cover and an okay read, but not one I would strongly recommend except for readers particularly interested in philosophical post-WWII books.

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