Monday, 18 August 2008

TITLE: RANDOM ACTS OF HEROIC LOVE AUTHOR: Danny Scheinmann DATE PUBLISHED: 2007 DATE READ: August 2008 NOTES: The best thing about this book is probably its intriguing title (though I don’t actually know what “heroic love” is!) All in all a bit of a mixed bag. The book has two strands – one starting in 1992 and one in 1917. The modern strand tells of Leo and his girlfriend Eleni who dies in a bus accident in Ecuador. Her death devastates him and he is left grieving and filled with guilt. I found it hard to relate to Leo and all his weeping and wailing…. (all very irritating) He subsequently finds inspiration from a wacky physics lecturer, Robert. However rather than finding Robert inspirational, I think he is the sort of person you would cross the road to avoid. The earlier section told the story of Moritz conscripted to fight against the Russians in WW1. He is captured and sent to a Siberian prison camp from where he escapes and makes his way back home buoyed up all the way by the hope of meeting up again with the girl he left behind. Because so little has been written in English about this aspect of the war I found it quite interesting – but the writing fails to rival other WW1 works. One problem (for me) was the fact that there was so little differentiation between the two narrative voices. The two narratives eventually merge – as you know all along they will. All a bit sentimental and touchy feely! MEMO: Don’t read any more books with a Richard and Judy sticker on them!

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