With two independent publishers – Istros Books and Peter Owen – and a wonderful library on our premises, we thought it a good time for a new literary initiative: a monthly book club for members and friends, where we discuss some of the titles produced by our resident publishers, as well as the occasional guest sessions hosted by staff and other residents.
This month we will be reading The Great War by Aleksandar Gatalica.
‘The Great War’ is a novel that comprehensively and passionately narrates a number of stories covering the duration of World War One, starting with the year 1914 – the year that truly marked the beginning of the twentieth century. Following the destinies of over seventy characters, on all warring sides, Gatalica depicts the experiences of winners and losers, generals and opera singers, soldiers and spies; managing to grasp the atmosphere of the entire epoch, not only of these crucial four and a half bloody years, but also in the innocent decades that preceded the war, and the poisoned ones that followed.
The stories themselves are various but equally important: here we find joyful as well as tragic destinies, along with examples of exceptional heroism. Yet ‘The Great War’ never becomes a chronicle, nor a typical historical novel; above all it is a work of art that uses historic events as means to tell stirring stories with unbelievable and unthinkable convolutions. It is commendable in its breadth, its vision and its relevance to modern history.
The next book club event will be held in the library on Friday 23rd March:
Petite Fleur by Iosi Havillo / with Lorna Scott Fox (translator)
We are committed to promoting inclusive practice at Conway Hall. Due to the constraints of our building, the Library is not currently accessible to wheelchair users or those with limited mobility, we are happy to discuss with you how we can make the contents and materials accessible to you. We carefully monitor which events are held in the Library, and will use your comments to enable us to develop ways to ensure that everyone should be able to attend events in the future.