War and Turpentine

War and Turpentine
Goodreads Rating: 3.91
ISBN: 9781925240207
Author: Stefan Hertmans, David McKay
Category: Historical
Published: July 18th 2016 by Text Publishing (first published September 2nd 2013)
Pages: 304 pages
Language English

Shortly before his death in 1981, Stefan Hertmans' grandfather gave him a couple of filled exercise books. Stories he’d heard as a child had led Hertmans to suspect that their contents might be disturbing, and for years he didn’t dare to open them. When he finally did, he discovered unexpected secrets. His grandfather’s life was marked by years of childhood poverty in late-nineteenth-century Belgium, by horrific experiences on the frontlines during the First World War and by the loss of the young love of his life. He sublimated his grief in the silence of painting. Drawing on these diary entries, his childhood memories and the stories told within Urbain’s paintings, Hertmans has produced a poetic novelisation of his grandfather’s story, brought to life with great imaginative power and vivid detail. War and Turpentine is an enthralling search for a life that coincided with the tragedy of a century—and a posthumous, almost mythical attempt to give that life a voice at last.

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