Birdsong is one of those few books that haunt you even after you have read the last word. A quote from the first part of the book truly describes its writings. “The function of music is to liberate in the soul those feelings that normally we keep locked up in the heart”. This book does the same. It opens up a plethora of emotions experienced by the reader with every passage in the book.
This book focuses on the life of Stephen Wraysford, a World War I veteran, while channeling into the life of his granddaughter Elizabeth Benson, who tries to know more about her grandfather and his war experiences. Faulks sections the novel into seven parts starting with the introduction of a young Stephen Wraysford and his unfulfilled love with Isabella Azaire and concludes with Elizabeth fulfilling her grandfather’s promise made to a certain comrade. Faulks crystal clear writings run smoothly over pages engrossing the reader to feel the heart wrenching emotions of an incomplete love, the psychological effects that a war had on the soldiers and its aftermath. A certain section that touched my heart was the part of the letter writings between the soldiers on the war front and their kin. Makes you wonder how we easily forget those who fight on the brink of death to keep us safe and alive.
It is a truly brave and passionate read. Stephen Wraysford, Isabella Azaire, Jack Firebrace and Michael Weir simply do not seem to leave my memory. I may just revisit them soon.