Strange Meeting

A heart rending tale of friendship in wartime that deserves a place on the shelf beside the great books of wartime literature The trenches of the Western Front are the setting for this story of the extraordinary devotion that develops between silent, morose John Hillard, full of war s futility, and his as yet unscathed trench mate, David Barton The lyrical beauty of HillA heart rending tale of friendship in wartime that deserves a place on the shelf beside the great books of wartime literature The trenches of the Western Front are the setting for this story of the extraordinary devotion that develops between silent, morose John Hillard, full of war s futility, and his as yet unscathed trench mate, David Barton The lyrical beauty of Hill s narrative draws the reader in and doesn t let go This little novel is a gem, compelling and moving, a treat for all readers of fiction.
Strange Meeting A heart rending tale of friendship in wartime that deserves a place on the shelf beside the great books of wartime literature The trenches of the Western Front are the setting for this story of the ex

  • Title: Strange Meeting
  • Author: Susan Hill
  • ISBN: 9780879238308
  • Page: 308
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Strange Meeting”

    1. I had not read Susan Hill before, but when I've seen her titles I thought she veered toward ghost stories. As I chose to read this because it continues my exploration of WWI, I wasn't sure what to expect from her. It was nothing of what might have been and is a fine contribution to the sub-genre.'By the next war, the message will have got through.’ ‘There will never be another war.’ ‘There will always be wars.’ ‘Men couldn’t be so stupid, John! After all this? Isn’t the only real [...]

    2. I don't think this is a very well known or celebrated book, but with the exception of Barker's Regeneration Trilogy, I can't think of another World War I story that has moved me as deeply. While in many ways a subtle novel, missing a lot of the overblown, overwrought "movie-moments" found in other war novels, it seamlessly captures the agony and ugliness of a war that devoured a whole generation of young men. It in no way glorifies the war, and presents it as what it is: unadulterated, irrationa [...]

    3. This sad and haunting tale of the deep friendship which evolves between two officers serving in the trenches during WW1 is so well written, and has such sensitivity, that it couldn't fail to be moving.Of the two men, one is already emotionally scarred by his experiences, but the other is as yet untouched by this dreadful war, and has yet to discover what it meant to serve on the front line.I've read many books about this conflict, but I felt this was a more personal look at how men tried to deal [...]

    4. WWI officer John Hilliard returns to France after spending several months in England recovering from a serious wound. He is shocked to find that, of the officers he had previously served with, most are dead or disabled, and those few who are not suffer from severe mental and emotional wounds: rage, bitterness, despair, madness. He tries to isolate himself emotionally to avoid breaking down, but is brought out of his shell by David Barton, a friendly, warm-hearted officer who has not yet seen com [...]

    5. Despite the inevitability of their being sad and depressing, I will persist in reading novels about the First World War. Maybe I’d stop if there wasn’t so much well-written fiction about the war, and indeed wars in general. In this case, 'Strange Meeting' is an account of the relationship between two officers over a relatively short period in training camps and trenches. Said relationship is ambiguously homoerotic, but I read it as an intense romantic friendship. It was very moving to see th [...]

    6. Set in the First World War. Beautifully written, it almost reads like a poem, if not exactly Wilfred Owen's poem of the same title. Trench horror contrasts with the unreality of life in Blighty experienced by one of the characters in the novel, home on leave; so unreal he can't wait to get back to France.The' strange meeting' is that between two officers, John and David (David and Jonathan?) and the resulting bond between them. One of them writes as a poet might – Owen??It brought the war, its [...]

    7. A blurb on the cover of All Quiet on the Western Front calls it "The greatest war novel ever written." Susan Hill'sStrange Meeting makes for the perfect companion novel. Not only do both novels describe the horrors of war, they do so by exploring the human bonds made and broken amid the shelling and the gas and the rats in the trenches. There are two aspects that stand out in this marvelously short novel. The first is the beautiful, opposites-attract relationship that develops between Hilliard a [...]

    8. I think maybe by the end of the year I'll be changing my rating to 5 stars.WWI as a literary setting is powerfully attractive to many people, as Hill says in her Afterword, and I am no exception. I have yet to read 'just another First World War' book and this is another 'not just another First World War novel'I liked where the story started - a new beginning for John Hilliard in a way, but not *the* beginning of his war. Aspects of the 'Home Front' reminded me of Mrs Dalloway.David Barton is an [...]

    9. This is a very well researched and beautifully written book. It tells the story of two officers who forge a deep friendship during the first world war. It reflects the hopes of the army ahead of life in the trenches and the feelings of a just war. It speaks also of how the war is viewed on the home front and the disconnect of the soldiers on leave.The discription of the futility of war, the randomness of death and the sense of wasted life.It is a moving novel and worth reading to get a feel of t [...]

    10. I would recommend this book to those who read WW1 literature or those who want to try this genre.Hill's detailed yet downplayed descriptions of war (mimicking the modernist writing era) really allows you to feel as though this was written during the time.It's a lovely tale of friendship on the front line (something that rarely occurred) and also of two characters personal developments due to said friendship and the war around them. The emotions are a slight rollercoaster of events and this whils [...]

    11. I first read parts of this when I was in school and obsessed with Wilfred Owen but didn't finish it as I really couldn't 'get into it' (I was about 15) although I did read endless other works on WW1 as I continued through university, which were, overall, better than this. Having read a lot of Hill's other works, this is clearly an early piece and is a novelist finding her way through the 'literary' field. Even though it is well written, the characters comparatively sympathetic, it is not in the [...]

    12. Synopsis: In 1914, John Hilliard, reticent and aged from his inaugural experiences of the war thus far, is haunted by nightmares whilst on sick leave. Hilliard is disillusioned with those at home for their naive ignorance and detachment from the grim reality of war. Upon returning to France Hilliard meets David Barton, an exuberant new recruit not yet sullied in battle or from the atrocities of war.Hilliard, previously so reserved and detached, cannot grasp why he is so instinctively drawn to Ba [...]

    13. I steeled myself for a non-happy ending–having recently read Pat Barker’s wonderful trilogy–and I wasn’t disappointed. I’m saying this upfront, because there’s no point beating about the bush. If you enjoyed Barker’s work, then you’ll certainly enjoy this little book. It’s hardly more than a novella, really, but packs a beautiful punch.I admit I was put off a little when I first cracked the book open and started to read, because it is clearly aiming at the literary market–not [...]

    14. I am fascinated by the illustration on the cover of my copy: it appears to be Siegfried Sassoon. I'd love to know the story behind this choice, because it instantly sets one's mind working - his childhood, war experience and love life are well documented, and I can see both similarities and differences to Hilliard. It's eerie the way the eyes are obscured, and then there is the strange illusion of wings sprouting from the back of the head. That said even the author picture on the reverse is a bi [...]

    15. I have read many World War One novels and they are all amazing works of literature. They're eye-opening to the facts about trench living and the horrors of battle, and paint perfect pictures of the relationships between the men (and sometimes women). Strange Meeting does not disappoint in any of these aspects.John Hilliard comes back from a temporary leave after getting wounded to find that all the men he knew are either dead or changed. Then he meets David Barton, a charismatic, happy young man [...]

    16. I started this book last year, and put it down just after the swimming-with-Beth memory, for reasons I'm not quite sure of. Possibly because Hill's writing style is quite different to anything I've been reading lately - lots of fragmented sentences and comma splices, which meant I kept going 'Surely that's not grammatically correct?', even if the overall effect worked. Strange Meeting stands in remarkable contrast to Birdsong, which is the only other First World War novel I've read set at the fr [...]

    17. Over forty years on from its first publication, this is still an exceptional novel. It deals with the effects on two young men of serving in the First World War, and is remarkably evocative of trench life in all its aspects and of the utter futility of much of the action the men were called to take part in. It is written with Susan Hill's usual precision and directness, painting vivid and unforgettable pictures of people and events.What makes this truly exceptional, though, is its subtle and pen [...]

    18. Several years ago, I read a book by David Malouf, Fly Away Peter, which was also about World War I. As I read this book by Hill, flashes of that book kept coming in my head. I knew when I started this that no happy literature comes out of war, but I had forgotten how much I could dread the story ahead of me. It was worth the dread, though.Susan Hill has written an excellent book about war. Her images of the interludes between battles, the trenches and the assault were well done. Even better was [...]

    19. There is much to admire in this careful, measured and unsensational study of a young male friendship in the midst of a war. However, much as I admired the work, I felt that it was hard to like; my reaction was cold and rational and perhaps it should have been more moving. Sad to say, but perhaps a little dull.

    20. I read this for my English Literature AS Course. It was tedious, non descriptive and unbelievable. The ending managed to be both brutal & disappointing. the book reached its climax very early on and then fizzled out.

    21. I read this book in one day. It is so very moving. Beautifully written. The characters are fictional but the thought of what that whole generation of young men went through during the Great War is almost unbearable. I had to take myself off for a quiet cry at the end of it.

    22. A bit slow to start, but once you get into it there's a great connection with the characters, if focuses mostly on the "brothers in arms" aspect of world war one, but has some interesting points on the politics of the war also.

    23. I was expecting a more creepy book then this. Susan Hill writes books that are capable of chilling you to your very marrow but this one did not do much for me. The writing was lovely but the story I had no interest in. I will read the rest of her books as I am a huge fan.

    24. A brilliantly written story by a wonderful writer. A very good telling of a story about love for your fellow man set to the back drop of a horrible war.

    25. I read this book in a day. It was dull and predictable and not as fantastic as everyone claims. I did not enjoy it at all.

    26. Don’t go back to London, to England, don’t go and listen to what they say and read their papers, don’t try and talk to them as you are talking to me, for there is nobody, no one knows. Don’t go. [loc. 635]Strange Meeting is set during the early part of the First World War. John Hilliard returns from medical leave, and the distant and chilly company of his relatives, to his battalion in France. He's shocked to find that many of the men he previously served with have been killed: his comma [...]

    27. Strange Meeting is a war novel set in the World War 1. Officer John Hilliard returns to the war after recovering from a wound. John is already scarred from the ghastly reality of war: death, chronic wounds, disabilities and mental and emotional damage. When he returns, he meets a new officer called David Barton. David Barton hasn’t yet participated in the war and shows naivety. John is usually an isolated men but is different with David, who ironically is a complete opposite character from Joh [...]

    28. This story centers around two characters mainly, John Hilliard and David Barton. It takes place of course during WWIat seems to be a central theme for me lately. John is returning to the Western Front after a brief period of time at home convalescing from an injury. When he returns he finds most of his former battalion tragically altered, and a new officer by the name of Barton has arrived. This is Barton's first exposure to war. They are polar opposites, David is keen, excited to do his part in [...]

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