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Word Count: 390
I understand that reading the back of Timothy Findleys novella You went away sounds like a trip down weepy-chick lane However a work which almost sounded too girly for me turned out to be one of the most realistic portrayals of those attempting to deal with World War II in Canada Reading the book shows Findleys ability to take the genre and make it do tricks for him He constructs a story in the third person which follows the Forbes family specifically Graeme father drunk and adulterer Michael wife dealing with raising her son by herself and Matthew son on the verge of manhood You went away chronicles their lives from 1939 to 1942 structured around the premise that an unkown narrator is piecing together the tale through a series of old photographs found at a flea market The reader is left with the puzzle of whether the story is true or not but it is shown that the characters lives are true in the way that matters in that they are vital studies of distinct personalities in transition The intimacy of the writing is what is truly striking The narration moves between the characters without a loss of familiarity There are distinct voices within the same text set up against each other This multi-faceted approach lends itself well to the storyline as the ramifications of one action are echoed further and further from the source Findley captures the scope of war and loss while still maintaining sense of hope albeit coloured by a cynical wit In a time where characters are frought with fear depression and just the distance between loved ones Findley creates a hero There is something refreshing about the way he writes in that his hero is not only of muscle and sinew but rather one whose maintenance of character is foremost Simply put this book inspires survival Findley allows the reader to see the seams in
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