It was fine too in Northern France and Flanders. But those who lay on their backs, dying or wounded, did not stare up at the blue sky with a sense of lucid affirmation as Tolstoy describes Prince Andrey doing on the battlefield of Austerlitz. The finer the day, the greater the confusion death caused on the Western front. Death had been robbed of all significance there; consequently it was easier to accept it as one more condition, like the mud or the cold, in a world fundamentally inhospitable to man, than in a climate and season so full of promise. It’s a fucking fine day to croak.
Quotations from G. by John Berger.
G is the hero of the novel G. by John Berger. G is a bit of a picarro wandering through Italy before the Great War and racking up sexual adventures. Along the way the narrator (presumably the aforementioned G) tells stories of the events and characters he meets (or seduces) in his travels around Italy and parts of Europe. The narrator also stops and makes editorial comments on those activities and on the developments going on in Europe.
I find that most historical fiction nowadays is best accepted less as a reflection of the past but moreover as a comment on the present, especially as the present leads into the future. In G. we have several such passages; here is just one:
Continue reading “A Note From G”