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Flanders is the breakout novel by Patricia Anthony, whose award-winning science fiction has transcended the genre through the sheer power of her storytelling. Flanders is Anthony's first true mainstream novel, a powerful evocation of the First World War--and the passage between life and death that reveals itself to one young soldier......

Title : Flanders
Author :
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ISBN : 9780425172933
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 368 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Flanders Reviews

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    2019-05-14 01:49

    The awful shadow of some unseen Power Floats though unseen among us; visiting This various world with as inconstant wingAs summer winds that creep from flower to flower;Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower, It visits with inconstant glance Each human heart and countenance;Like hues and harmonies of evening, Like clouds in starlight widely spread, Like memory of music fled, Like aught that for its grace may beDear, and yet dearer for its mystery.Hymn to Intellectual Beauty by Percy Bysshe ShelleyTravis Lee Stanhope had just graduated from Harvard. He wasn’t your typical Harvard graduate. He wasn’t the son of a powerful bluestocking family. In fact his father was barely educated at all. Travis Lee was a self-made man. He was accepted to Harvard on merit. It didn’t mean he belonged. He didn’t have the right accent for one, being from Texas, and I’d be surprised if he owned a dinner jacket or even cared to know what one was. What he did know about was how he felt about literature. He loved literature and especially he loved reading Shelley. Now instead of taking that Harvard degree and using it to land himself a fat job in some corporate structure or to pontificate at a university he decided that he wanted a little adventure. When I think about a little adventure I decide to go to Boston or San Francisco and map out a tour of historic sites, museums, and great restaurants. Travis Lee decides that he needs to join the British army and travel on the British Realm's dime to see what this dust up is all about with the Germans. It is 1916.Trench in FlandersThe British officers turn out to be the same kind of posh upper class morons/assholes he just left in Massachusetts. Travis Lee, like most of us, has unresolved issues in particular with his father. In fact he tried to kill him at one point, ran him off, and he left specific instructions with his little brother Bobby to do the same thing if the “son-of-a-bitch” shows up again. Travis Lee is in the middle of a war zone, trench warfare, with all the inherent fears of being either blown to smithereens or buried alive in a collapsed bunker. As afraid as he is of what the Boche will do to him he is more afraid of what is in his head. In a series of letters to his brother Bobby he reveals the extent of his fears. ”I dreamed about Pa last night. We were in the dugout together, just the two of us; and the Boche were shelling. It was a murky place, black except for a single candle. I could just make out his eyes and hands--Pa’s worst parts. He was taking off his belt and he was saying in that low dangerous voice of his, “‘Pears you’re sassing me, boy. You sassing me?” Me in a gloomy corner of a darkened room; Pa the monster. Above my head bombs were falling; but soft and terrible I could hear Pa hiss: “You sassing me?”Travis Lee can travel thousands of miles away, but his head is still trapped in a darkened room with his father on a goat farm in Harper, Texas. He starts to see things. Ghosties as he calls them, dead soldiers, fallen friends. They are in his dreams and sometimes they manifest themselves in daylight just as real as if they still walked the earth. He has what I can only call spiritual moments that temporarily turn horror into beauty. ”It was a corpse. A Boche. His skull was cerulean. The tatters of skin left him were the complex hue of the ocean. A god of a creature. His hands were open. Maggots shone like golden suns in his palms.”When Stanhope loses his nerve as a sniper he becomes a stretcher bearer.Stanhope is good with a rifle. He’s a good plunker as we used to say where I grew up. Soon he is spending most of his time on the front lines in NO MANS LAND picking off Germans. His commanding officer, Miller, is thrilled to see the company sniper kill ratio continue to climb. Miller went to all the right schools, loves literature, and has his own problems fitting in given that he is a Jew in a Protestant army. Stanhope likes him. As it turns out Miller likes him more, if you get my drift. Stanhope is so lonely he finds himself, against his better judgement, actually giving Miller encouragement. Maybe a better way to explain the loneliness/surrealness that Stanhope feels is to take a trip to visit a prostitute with him. You can keep your trousers on. ”I got the skinny one this time. Her hair was all done up in curls. Ringlets framed her cheek. We lay side by side, not talking, not fucking. She had the most amazing milk white skin, and rosy little nipples. I ran my hand all over her slow. A miracle how whole her body was, what a blessing. She kept trying to kiss me. She played with my pecker. But after a while she stopped trying to earn her five shillings so hard. She stared at the ceiling, and she was smiling a little. I stroked her. I smelled her skin. I buried my face in her ringlets and smelled her hair. When my nose and hands knew her, I rolled on top and nudged her legs apart. Being in her felt safe. I rested there for a while. My head was against her chest. I could hear her heart beating, a sound to sleep to. I took hold of her hand and put it on my cheek. Whores are good at understanding what a man needs; and so she caressed my face, my shoulders until I felt real again.”Stanhope's working environment in No Man's LandThe company gets leave to move back from the front lines and it is like emerging from HELL into something out of a lost part of his life. ”I found out there was still green in the world. I saw grass and just sat myself down in the middle of it. It was misting rain. Water gathered on my face, ran down either side of my forehead. Drops hung like crystal beads on my lashes. Every time I blinked, I blinked prisms. I dug my fingers into the soil. Instead of bones and war trash I felt damp loam, good strong roots, hidden grubs. I felt life. I felt of it careful. And it was intimate--like holding the earth gently, so gently, by the snatch.”Mike Sullivan has led a campaign to bring this book some much deserved attention. It was published by ACE SCIENCE FICTION which was a huge mistake. From working in bookstores I know this book was shelved in the Science Fiction section which is the absolute wrong place for it to be. There are mystical moments in the book, but certainly nothing that would bring it into the realm of fantasy. Publishing this under the wrong imprint not only killed sales for this book, but also at the present time seems to have suspended Patricia Anthony’s writing career. It is all baffling to think about. Her agent at least needs to be put in front of a nerf ball firing squad, just so he/she feels the disdain of a poorly performed duty.Patricia AnthonyThere is so much more to the plot than what I’ve covered in this review. There is a psychopath attacking women and Stanhope finds himself sordidly involved. There is ribald soldier's humor. ”I was having a good sit-down myself, not the yellow squirt I get when the water’s bad, nor the dark goat-turd pebbles I get when the food’s not plentiful enough. No, this was a great, glorious golden cigar of a turd that felt fine and upstanding coming out, a British sort of turd. Anthony explores the conditions of trench warfare and the sense of displacement the men feel when they have to take up new quarters. A man named Pickering develops an attachment to a sandbag with what seems to be a cross smeared into the cloth. He is depressed for days afterward when they are forced to relocate. This is a book that is pleasure to read; and yet, conveys a depth that will linger with you long after you leave the muck and mud of Flanders, France.

  • Lawyer
    2019-05-16 02:57

    FLANDERS, Patricia Anthony's Lost Novel of WWIApril 2, France, Reserve AreaDear Bobby, Yesterday my new Captain Miller, ordered me to go with the new subaltern...After an hour's pleasant stroll, we came upon what looked like a crude bar ditch, with a few soldiers lining one side and peering off across an orchard.Right then the lieutenant throws himself down, yelling, "Four in! Four in!" The Tommies lining the ditch begin to shout "Hed doon.!" And then I heard wasps buzzing.The Lieutenant waved frantically. "Yer bloody ignorant Yank! Fritz is four in!"I dived headfirst into the ditch. Soldiers and packs and curses were propelled every which way. When we got untangled, I saw that the lieutenant was ordering me to ready my rifle, which I did. There were only a few Boche and they were lurking about the trees in the apple orchard, plinking at us haphazardly. My first shot dropped one, an outcome which took me by utter surprise. I saw the helmet sail off the German boy's head. I saw him go down. Regret so overwhelmed me, I nearly vomited...Early issue German Helmet, WWIPrologueCan't you hear an old man telling Travis to stay home? I can. I can see a grizzled veteran of the American Civil War talking to him, telling him he can't know what war is, but the old man knows. He's seen the Elephant. That old man has crossed fields into volleys of rifled musketry. He has seen the lines of men disappear in the enfilading fire of canister. Some say old men forget. This old man does not. But not even he can know what waits in Europe, how efficient man has made weapons. Not even the makers of the weapons know how quickly and precisely these new weapons can kill so well, so completely, to destroy a regular army in less than six months of war. But it will happen. And once more, once the truth comes out, the world will be shocked and amazed. In this war they will wonder what happened to a generation, simply gone, dead, forever absent.All the generals, the adjutants, the staff, will follow tactics far outstripped by modern weapons. And they will not understand how that could happen. They never have. They never will. It's the men you know. They hesitated. They did not push the advantage. That's it isn't it? That is what the battle reports will say. That is what they always say. What they say when the dead are counted. It was a rum show, wasn't it? Oh, yes. A bad show.I can hear him talking to Travis. I can tell Travis isn't listening. Can't you? You ask God if there's not something to stop it. Then you ask where is God? This old man is not the creation of Patricia Anthony, but mine. These images in what I have labeled the Prologue are all images that Anthony has stirred in me. Anthony and the men I have known like that old man whose voice I hear whispering in my ear, those few from the war to end all wars, the Second World War, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. I wonder if I will live to know more old men from wars not yet fought. But I doubt I will, for I am growing to be among the old. It may well be that men younger than me will one day tell me, "Old man, you do not understand."Welcome to the war, Travis Lee Stanhope, faithful writer of letters to younger brother Bobby back home in Harper, Texas. You're a good boy to write home and let the folks know you're fine. Couldn't wait to get to the war, could you? Couldn't wait until Uncle Sam pointed his finger at you and said he wanted you. Well, Son. I guess you weren't the first. You won't be the last. Too afraid it will all be over before you get there, aren't you? But you could have waited. It's going to be a long war. Won't be too many apples on those trees too long.Flanders after artillery bombardment--these orchards bear no applesFunny, isn't it? That German boy you dropped. Yes, a boy. Just like you're a boy. Wouldn't be surprised if he was fresh off the farm just like you. Except, he don't wear the same uniform you do. Got that funny spiked helmet that you sailed off his head. Well, son. You're good with that rifle. Those Brits will make a sniper out of you. You've got plenty of killing ahead of you. You remember old Nathan Bedford Forrest. Well he was right. War means fightin' and fightin' means killin'. I worry you don't have the stomach for it. I think you're figurin' it out pretty fast. But they're not gonna let you go home.Historical BackgroundOn August 4, 1914, the German Army invaded Belgium. The territory included the former country of Flanders. Generally known as Flanders Fields, the primary battles fought there were First and Second Ypres, and Passchendale. British and French forces rushed to repel the German invasion. Fighting in the area lasted almost to the end of the war in 1918. Over one million men died on these fields.RemembranceWhat happened here is commemorated by the well known poem by John McRae, "In Flanders Fields." It has stood the test of time in portraying the restlessness of the dead who lie under row after row of crosses and stars of David. In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lie,In Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.Poppy Fields in Flanders, where they shall not sleep though these flowers grow The Sad Story of What Happened to a BookThis was a book that took the critics by surprise. It was good. And it was different. For this was a book on war in the trenches of WWI, not that it was the first, of course. People expected work of this stature by men. However, this was written by a woman, Patricia Anthony, a Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Of course, Pat Barker took the Booker Prize for The Ghost Road, the final volume of The Regeneration Trilogy: Regeneration; The Eye in the Door; The Ghost Road. Yet for all critical acclaim achieved by Patricia Anthony, the book was a commercial failure. It tanked. If it had been theatre, the advances would have been "We bombed in New Haven."Perhaps Patricia Anthony's novel Flanders was doomed from the beginning. Anthony had been known as a science fiction writer. Ace was her publisher. On a perfectly beautifully designed dust jacket, the ACE SCIENCE FICTION imprint was prominently displayed on the spine. Perhaps science fiction readers picked up copies of Flanders flipped through it, said, "Huh?" and put it back on the shelf. Readers of historical fiction do not make their selections from the science fiction shelves.Ms. Anthony, in Flanders wrote a masterpiece of historical fiction concerning trench warfare in World War One. It is probably one of the most curious books on the shelves of my library. It is a first printing, first edition, and it is signed by Ms. Anthony. It is worth practically nothing to the book collector. For this remarkable novel never found a reading audience. But I consider it a treasure that was lost, that I found.The strange thing is this. Anthony was hailed by critics as one of America's newest and strongest writers.Flanders was almost universally acclaimed. Critics most often compared it as a novel equal in power to All Quiet on the Western Front.Born in San Antonio, Texas, January 3, 1947, Ms. Anthony spent several years in Brazil as an English teacher. Ms. Anthony was teaching creative writing at SMU in Texas when Flanders was published. I happened to catch her on The Today Show. It was a remarkable interview. Published in 1998, it was a NYTimes Notable Book. Critics praised it to the skies. But nobody read it. As a seller, it was a flop.It is a sad thing when a book this good cannot find a readership. I can only chalk it up to pure damned bad marketing. Pat Barker was fortunate to have written the Regeneration novels in Great Britain published by a House that had the good sense to market it as it should have been.The Book ReportThis is an epistolary novel. It consists of letters written by Travis Lee Stanhope to his younger brother Bobby back home in Texas. One of the first ones is quoted above. Like many Americans, Travis Lee volunteered to fight with the British Army before America went "over there."Travis Lee is no Texas cowboy. Nor is he a West Texas Cotton Farmer. He's educated. He was attending medical school. He could have avoided the fracas. But he volunteered to go. I guess that's one way to see Europe. In Travis' mind the war would be short, perhaps six months at the most. Travis Lee finds France beautiful in the spring of 1916. Away from the trenches, it certainly is. However, Travis Lee finds a different world once he's on the front lines. It is Hell. It is madness. It is day after day of useless deaths.Travis Lee's skill is as a marksman. He is a sharpshooter. In other words, he is a sniper. And he is very good at his work. But he doesn't like what his duties require him to do.Sleep is a constant nightmare for Travis Lee. At night his dreams are filled with the faces of the men he has killed and his comrades with whom he served who have been slaughtered in senseless attacks through barbed wire into nests of entrenched machine guns. Anthony's description of his dreams are hallucinatory, swirling episodes of horror. Death is a pretty girl in a calico dress wandering through a cemetery.That Anthony portrays death as a supernatural figure should not be considered unusual. Men on the field witnessed visions. The war created an entire mythology of folklore. It was a time when British forces could say that Angels hovered over them during the retreat from Mons in 1914 and it was completely accepted.Even more bizarre were the outright fictions, such as the ghosts of the archers of Agincourt who put themselves between their modern brethren and loosed arrows into German troops. Mysterious arrows that left no wounds. That little gem was an outright fiction published in a magazine as "The Mysterious Bowmen," by Arthur Machen. You might remember him as the author of "The Great God Pan" and a number of other horror and fantasy stories. No, Anthony did not merely insert a "ghost story" into Flanders as Ace promoters announced. Anthony, in my opinion had done her research. She could read The Great War and Modern Memory as easily as I can today. Paul Fussell wrote it in 1975. This is another layer of authenticity that Anthony produces within the pages of this book.As in all wars, there are men with whom Travis Lee serves, who revel in the killing. Pierre Le Blanc, a mad French Canadian represents that category of soldier. Le Blanc is not content to kill the enemy but even civilians in nearby villages. But it is Stanhope who becomes the suspect because of his bouts of binge drinking when even he is unaware of his actions. But it's the drinking that helps him forget the faces of the men he's wiped from the face of the earth, the faces of his dead comrades.When sober, Travis Lee recites Keats and Shelley for his Captain who loves poetry as well, but he is an officer despised for his Jewishness. Travis Lee is caught in a quagmire of war, incapable of escape until the last bullet is fired.RecessionalWhat of Patricia Anthony? Previously the author of six acclaimed science fiction novels, Anthony broke with Ace following Flanders. After three years at SMU she left her post to become a screenwriter. Although on several projects, not one has been greenlighted. Anthony completed an eighth novel in 2006. She hasn't found a publisher. Perhaps she feels her life did not turn out as she planned it.Her science fiction novels were:Cold Allies (1992)Brother Termite (1993)Conscience of the Beagle (1993)Happy Policeman (1994)Cradle of Splendor (1996)God's Fires (1997)James Cameron bought the writes to "Brother Termite" in 2003. The project has never gotten off the ground. There was even a screen treatment written for Flanders with a "small" producer. Nope. Didn't happen.Yet, When Anthony left science fiction behind with Flanders she didn't return to the genre. Greg Johnson who frequently reviews for the SF Site and The New York Review of Science Fiction wrote:"The only connection to SF is the Ace Science Fiction imprint on the cover, and the author's previous work. Conventional publishing wisdom would suggest that what Anthony is doing here is the equivalent of career suicide. Science fiction readers, they would say, won't read Flanders because it isn't science fiction. Mainstream readers will stay away because the author has been identified with SF. The result would be a book that falls through the cracks, and fails to find an audience." http://www.sfsite.com/07b/flan37.htmWhile this magnificent book fell through the cracks,I beg to differ with Greg Johnson. Anthony may have signed an agreement with ACE, Anthony didn't commit career suicide. Was she under contract to ACE, effectively barring her from seeking another publisher? I don't know. I've not found the answer to that question. Of some small note the subsequent publication of Flanders in paperback appeared under the Berkley imprint. Sales improved. However, sales never matched critical acclaim.Now, Flanders is a print on demand item in the Berkley catalog. That's a shame. This is one of the best overlooked books of the 20th Century. Find it. Read it. You can pick up a first edition hardback with dust jacket for as little as $1.00. Send Ms. Anthony a letter thanking her. She might appreciate it. Flanders is a lost American classic. It is time it was found.ADDENDUM: I am sad to report that Patricia Anthony died on August 2, 2013. This review was edited and updated for members of goodreads group "Around WWI" This group has been established in observance of the Centenary of World War One. Should you be interested in joining the group, simply e-mail me of your interest. I serve as a group moderator in the company of Kris Rabberman and Kalliope. Any of us can assist you in joining this group.Additional Material:Review, Publishers Weekly, May 4, 1998: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0...Worlds at War, An interview with Patricia Anthony, Barcelona Review: http://www.barcelonareview.com/19/e_p...From the Barcelonareview.com, regarding Flanders:Your work is habitually labeled as science fiction or speculative fiction. How does labeling affect you as a writer?To be frank, it destroyed my career.Flanders, Patricia Anthony, Novels: http://patriciaanthony.net/Patricia_A...The Great War and Modern Memory: The Illustrated Edition; Ch. 4. Myth, Ritual, and Romance; Sterling Publishing Company, NY, NY 2009 See My good friend Jeffrey Keeten's excellent review of this novel at JK's Review of Flanders

  • Richard Derus
    2019-05-11 04:10

    Rating: 4* of fiveThe Book Report: Travis Lee Stanhope leaves Harvard for France to join in the fighting of The Great War (WWI to thee and me), as so many of his generation of young American men did, on the side of the Allies. He chronicles his experiences as the lone Texan among European officers and men who, unlike the cruel and dismissive Yankee boys he's been spending his education among, chaff him good-naturedly about his accent and his origins.He becomes, by virtue of his origins, a sharpshooter, and develops a track record of success in his task. He also makes some very...well...some discoveries, shall we say, that completely revolutionize his view of the material world, and what it contains, and what it conceals.War isn't hell. War is only the gateway to it.My Review: This wasn't a bestseller in 1998, when it was published. It wasn't widely reviewed. It wasn't a succès d'estime. High Literature, as defined by the unofficial and unconstituted American academy, excludes all forms of genre fiction...that condescending little shudder-word used to mark off the territory of Serious Books by excluding those which a writer without an MFA from Iowa, or a PhD in Literature, might wish to produce and an ordinary person might wish to read.I'd direct those academicians, self-appointed or recognized at large, to books like this one Magical realism isn't simply a Latin American phenomenon. This epistolary work (and right there is the reason it was never a bestseller) rivals the storytelling gifts of Mujica Lainez or Cortazar or Vargas Llosa.Oh. Bobby, I can't remember what he said—I only recall the joy of it, the terror of watching the dark approach. Then we were at the cypress; O'Shaughnessey had to see it coming. He had to. The dark took up all Here, all Now. I wanted to run, but with the helplessness of dreamers, I trailed O'Shaughnessey inside.I don't remember closing my eyes as we passed through that shadow membrane, but I remember opening them. Around me lay the broken countryside of No Man's Land. That was all. Nothing frightening, but a place like a thousand others—a spot where ghosties wander, searching for the land of the found, O'Shaughnessey stopped, offered his hand in a goodbye, no extraordinary power but that of affection in his touch. “Travis?” he said.“Yes?”He leaned close to whisper a secret. His breath was warm and smelled of chocolate. “It's love.” Don't overlook Travis Lee's magical adventures. You'll be the poorer for it.

  • Cathy DuPont
    2019-04-22 07:06

    Amazing how a book can be so beautifully written and movingly sad at the same time. As for my review, I am deferring to my friend Jeff Keeten whose poignant and more thorough review was why I read the book in the first place. I am happy that I did read it, too. I’m also happy that I finished it because of the sadness I felt. In my opinion, that is an excellent writer; one who can bring me to tears since I’m not a teary person at all. Chateau Woods Walking Over the Mud PlanksThe book is in an epistolary format, a series of letters from Travis Lee Stanhope to his younger brother Bobby in Texas. Texas is where Travis Lee was born and raised on a small goat ranch. He’s a country boy who helped his Ma and took care of Bobby. His relationship with his Pa is an integral part of Travis Lee’s story which unfolds in the trenches of Flanders. Soldiers Pushing a Red Cross Truck Through MudTravis Lee left Texas with a scholarship from and graduated with a Harvard degree. He was poised to enter medical school however he wanted to see more of the world. He joined the British Army and went to Flanders, a Yank among Brits fighting the Germans. Colorized Soldiers Resting at Bridge Over CanalTravis Lee was considered an excellent sharpshooter due to living on the ranch “plinking squirrels for Ma’s varmint stew.” Shooting and Living in the TrenchesHowever, I do want to share some quotes which I found stirred my emotions.“Larks circled, singing up the sun.” Simple but beautiful sentence.“I don’t want him touching me, but I’d sooner tell him I loved him than I’d tell any woman. So if I die, write him for me. Enclose this letter. He should know that much, I think.” Complicated relationship and touching how Travis Lee wants the soldier to know how he feels. Love is love.“Now, you wear that beret I sent you tipped to the side, little brother. The French shopkeeper gal who sold it to me said it’s sexy that way. Shit. Them goats’ll swoon all over you.” This is the only sentence in the book which gave me a chuckle. The writing by Patricia Anthony and this book is amazing.

  • Laura
    2019-05-14 07:56

    If I didn't know that it would confuse potential readers, I would label this book as Horror. Or maybe True Crime. Because that's what it is, in the end. Travis Lee Stanhope leaves America in 1916 to join the British Army in France. He's hoping for some adventure and a break from the "Yankee" snobbery he is enduring as a scholarship student at Harvard. The story is told in a series of letters that he writes to his younger brother, Bobby. As time passes, he stops sending the letters, and instead uses them as a personal journal to record his experiences.The full horror of what is going on in those fields in France is revealed only slowly to Travis Lee, and to the reader as well. In March of 1916, Travis' letters home describe France as a "pleasant and verdant place", where he plays the American Yokel to amuse his fellow soldiers. By November of the same year he is struggling to survive in trenches that crumble and erode in the rain, "vomit[ing:] out corpses: black-faced Boche, skin loose and scummy with rot, their bright hair falling out in patches, rats nesting in their bellies." The horrors are constant and unrelenting, everyone is exhausted and there is no respite anywhere.The theme of forgiveness runs through this novel like an undercurrent. Not only forgiveness for what happens in war, but forgiveness for the abuses humans inflict on each other daily as a result of their own weaknesses. Travis Lee's own refusal to forgive his family - particularly his father - runs parallel to the story of another soldier Travis describes as someone in whom "forgiveness lurked like a flaw". In the end, the reader has to decide for herself what the limits of human forgiveness are, or should be.

  • Shahrun
    2019-05-18 04:40

    A guy at work gave me this to read. He wanted to get my opinion on it, as he couldn't get into it. I know how frustrating it is to give people books and want a verdict. So I bumped it to the top of my reading and attatck it.I'm not sure if it was because of the prejudice that may have been handed on to me with this book, or if the first 100 pages or so weren't as well written as the rest of the book. But it took me that long to get into the book. From there on in, I was hooked. Infact, I discovered you have to keep reading for things to make sense. This book did transport me to the horrors of trench warfare. (Infact I dusted off some reference books on WWI to look at the pictures as I was reading.) I think Ms Anthony really gives you a good feel for what it must have been like. I would be interested to read more of her works. Not too sure what will happen to this book next. I will offer it bak to my college to see if he thinks it may be worth another bash (I say yes). He said no.

  • Eric Hammel
    2019-05-20 08:55

    I read Flanders soon after it was released. I had read and enjoyed one of Patricia Anthony's science fiction novels and thought Flanders was also scifi. I am a professional military historian, and I was floored by this book. I rank it at the top of the war novel genre, and especially at the top of World War I trench warfare fiction. It is tough, it is gritty, it is heartbreaking, and it is true in spirit. It kills me that I recommend it time and again to avid readers who don't know it exists, then wonder why not.

  • Steph (loves water)
    2019-04-30 03:53

    Absolutely incredible, I wish I could give it ten stars. Beautifully written, insightful...Still crying. Definitely a re-read.Re-writing this...it's been two weeks since I read this and I'm still bereft. Nothing I've read recently is up to the standard of Flanders. I wish I could go back and discover it again.

  • Danielle
    2019-04-25 02:50

    Beautiful, haunting book - and this from an avid anti-war reader. I despise reading about war, it bores and offends me. But this book ranks as a favorite; very interesting, despite its subject.

  • Gerry
    2019-04-20 01:51

    This is a book that captures the days of the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The book begins before the Battle of the Somme; it wasn’t until after the Great War had concluded that the two choices of names – one a water way, the other of a small town nearby – had garnered the name through the British Nomenclature Division of Battles. It was this Battle that ended the German attempts to take Verdun. What is entailed within the pages of this wonderful novel is the scene of what the normal British and Canadian grunt would have faced during this tumultuous affair. In my opinion FM Haig was a pompous “giggy’ who thought of losses as nothing more than “acceptable losses” – his gains in this battle from 1 July – 18 November 1916 gained little ground and cost thousands of lives; it was a horrific attempt at trying to release pressure on the French lines while also attempting to take ground from the Hun. The amazing thing about the First World War is how for Europe the armaments had developed from the time of the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/1871 and that the tactics changed little. This is true for all sides of this war. As an interesting note – when this war concluded the British Empire owed money for each round fired upon her enemies and this is something well-kept from history; but, is underscored in the dealings with regard to Krupp Armaments and their near 500 years of existence.Ms. Anthony is quite the detailed author, she had to have spent time as a researcher to this topic, and I speculate did this on her own time (and likely for enjoyment.) The only thing I have in common with Ms. Anthony is that at one time we both worked for the BELO Corporation; she with the Dallas Morning News and myself with the Riverside Press Enterprise; I never met Ms. Anthony, but I could feel her writing of pain on each page – pain that grunt feels. A grunt throughout History is the same person – only the technology, Generals, and armaments change – men are men in these holes and she brings to life the severe crap the hole existence is for men who have to live in those places. Her ability to tell the story, place it together and provide the back drop to the larger events in the most miniscule of detail is nothing short of outstanding. Her knowledge of phraseology, weaponry, equipment, uniforms, terms of the era and other such detail is what makes this book "believable."Without giving the story away, we see a young Texan join the B.E.F. in the British Army and co-mingled with Scots, Irish, English, Welsh, and Canadians serving in the same duty bound outfits. During the course of this reading the book that came to mind continuously was “All Quiet on the Western Front.” This novel by Ms. Anthony was written some 70 years after Remarque would place his experiences to paper. Nationalism is not a bad thing – if anything it gives people a sense of belief in self, family, country and the duty to be good citizens. How often have these veterans been betrayed, lied to, propagandized, and/or able to make a distinction of the truth from the talking heads that speak?I read this book in part in honor of my Belgian Born Father, and my Belgian Grandfather that served in the Great War. What I came away with was the cemented belief of how a generation of men over a century ago were “expendable” to the people ranked atop the pivot on all sides of this unfortunate war. The “war to end all wars” was really in the end the “war to set all wars” during the course of the 20th century up and until the Persian Gulf War of 1991 with Desert Storm. The middle east was first split as we know in 1917 with the Belfour Declaration – even as the fields of Flanders and of France were bloodied with a youth that would be forever and nearly forgotten.

  • Mackay
    2019-04-21 02:44

    Anthony, best known as a writer of SF, chose World War I as the setting and focus of this novel. While I had issues with some things (pour for pore, some hazy historicity, the nagging issue of Travis Lee's redneck voice from a man of his times who both graduated from Harvard and quotes Shelley at length), overall those are nits, given the emotional power of this story, the beauties of most of the prose, and the visceral feel of being in the trenches on the western front. If, for the 100th anniversary of the war, you wish to read something about it, you could do far worse than this novel. Highly recommended.

  • Jason
    2019-05-21 05:42

    On the surface, this is a story about a sharpshooter from Texas who fights alongside the British in the early years of World War I. The layer below is a story of ghosts, of life, of death, of the power of the universe. Underlying all of that, a story of profound spiritual transformation.The final pages gave me chills, left me sobbing. I knew what was coming. It didn't matter.This is a transcendent work of art.

  • Morgan
    2019-05-07 01:54

    Story: Travis Lee Stanhope is a misfit that doesnt fit in at school or home. So he volunteers to join the British army at the onset of WW1. Travis quickly shows a talent for sharp shooting that moves him to the front lines. It's not long before the constant battle and terrible conditions begin to wear on Travis. When he sleeps he begins to dream of a peaceful grave yard where a girl wearing a calico dress walks among the graves. Even more frightening to Travis is that he begins to see the people he has shot and his dead squad mates in the graveyard and they even occasionaly talk to him. To deal with all this Travis begins to drink heavily which lands him in all sorts of trouble and gets him paired up with the disturbed Leblanc. Leblanc is the companies most decorated solider but he has some very dark demons that he cannot control and Travis finds himself in the unwelcome role of keeper to a man he does not understand and has no way of controlling. This is the beginning of Travis's long journey to understand his self, his puropose, and what lies beyond the darkness of the grave yard he seems to be the unwilling caretaker of. ----- This is a different book I will say that. There aren't many supernatural war stories and proably even less are set in war world one. The author does a good job of protraying the main characters gradual decline from college kid on a summer lark to a severly depressed, shell shocked no -mans land survior to a man that has come to a grim acceptance of his past and his presnt. This definetly is not a Hollywood take on World War 1. People die and often it is not in heroic circumstances. One minute Travis is talking to someone, the next they were a little to slow to dive into the trench or little to slow to put there gas mask on and then there not there anymore and it turns out the ones that get shot or blown up are the lucky ones. What I'm getting at is that if you don't like violence or the aftermath of it, this book proably isn't for you, the author doesn't shy away from the horrors of the world war 1 trenches. I would reccomend this book to anyone who is looking for a different kind of historical fiction book. I would also recommend this to any one who likes stories such as Odd Thomas. m.a.c

  • Becky
    2019-05-02 08:42

    4.5. Flanders is the Southern Gothic World War I novel you didn't know you wanted, and is a significant entry in the "war is hell" genre.Our Texan narrator, the surprisingly compelling and uncorny Travis Lee Stanhope, signs up to be a British sharpshooter and struggles with all sorts of demons and ghosts, both figurative and (ambiguously) supernatural. An epistolary novel composed of letters whose destination becomes increasingly unclear, the prose is sharp and evocative and Travis Lee is an unforgettable character. The novel's rhythm is set by the company's tour of duty, with intense days in the trenches followed by days of respite in the rest area. This cyclical structure manages to capture the boredom, anxiety, and angst of front-line combat in a way I've rarely seen.That said, the dense repetition and slow pacing made this book at times a slog. Yet I was sufficiently invested in the story that it kept my attention to the end.

  • Isis
    2019-05-18 06:05

    I read this based on the description (which I don't remember whose review it was from): "A (closet intellectual) Texan country boy volunteers and serves with the British army in Flanders. He bonds with his (Jewish, gay) captain over poetry, earns a reputation as a crack sniper, and begins to see (possibly real) ghosts as the horrors of war erode his sanity." This is a very slow book, slower than I would have liked. It's kind of boring, in places; kind of gruesome, in places (duh, war); and sometimes I felt as though Travis Lee Stanhope required too much suspension of disbelief for me to accept his particular combination of literary bent and hick philosophy. But it's also a chilling, numbing account of the horrors of war and the horrors of psychopaths, a story about love and forgiveness and redemption, and how they don't really require religion, just belief - and even if you don't believe, someone else will believe for you.

  • Jacqueline
    2019-05-17 03:52

    Amazing how a book can be so beautifully written and movingly sad at the same time. What is entailed within the pages of this wonderful novel is the scene of what the normal British and Canadian grunt would have faced during this tumultuous affair. Ms. Anthony is quite the detailed author. Her ability to tell the story, place it together and provide the back drop to the larger events in the most miniscule of detail is nothing short of outstanding. Her knowledge of phraseology, weaponry, equipment, uniforms, terms of the era and other such detail is what makes this book "believable." Patricia Anthony seems to have channeled a soldier from WWI to write Flanders. The details are amazing, but don't bog down the story. . Patricia Anthony is ruthless in her description of WWI trench warfare, and it is a brutal, heartbreaking read.

  • Archiegitdog
    2019-05-03 09:04

    Next year (2014) is obviously the centenary of the start of the First World War. There will be a plethora of books published about this era. I strongly recommend you read this - it is a very detailed, graphic portrayal of the First World War through the eyes of an American who has graduated from Harvard but seeks adventure in Europe. He mixes with the working class of the English (and Middle/Upper Class of the officers), he is a sharpshooter by "trade" and it is horrific at the countless waste of human life. This is a brilliant, brilliant book (and very sad too).

  • Monique
    2019-05-03 06:57

    Gorgeous book, one of my all-time favourites. True, it might just be a bit over the top at times, but the writing is at times so wry and the end so tragic, that I couldn't help crying my eyes out. I loved the way Travis Lee pretty much went to pieces, I adored the scenes in the graveyard and I'm totally in love with Miller.

  • Lydia
    2019-04-20 07:50

    Woah, this book reaches into the dark corners of the mind like nobody's business. Patricia Anthony is ruthless in her description of WWI trench warfare, and it is a brutal, heartbreaking read. Anthony also incorporates some, um, interesting humor (my favorite: the medal-worthy golden cigar of a poop). That it doesn't feel forced is a testament to her writing.

  • Vicki
    2019-05-13 08:49

    A book that kept pulling me back. Anthony creates a world filled with death, grit, heartbreak, and all with beautiful prose. Her characters are touchable and her imagery vivid. A very good read for anyone looking for storytelling at its pinnacle.

  • Leslie
    2019-05-01 03:04

    I read this book twice. I never do that. Patricia Anthony seems to have channeled a soldier from WWI to write Flanders. The details are amazing, but don't bog down the story. Anyone who appreciates historical fiction will be hooked right away.

  • Chris
    2019-05-16 00:57

    touching, powerful-WW1-sniper, transcending

  • Robert
    2019-05-13 01:45

    Five stars

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-04 02:53

    A powerful and poignant epistolary novel about a young mans experiences in the trenches of WWI, and the the ever thinning line between life and death. In a senseless war of brutal murder, there are still issues of morality and honor that transcend the battlefield and must be faced by individuals and units. Hugely talented author, that I intend to read more of.

  • gk
    2019-05-17 05:05

    The novel is set in the trenches of WWI. The main character is Travis Lee Stanhope, a Texan sharpshooter who serves in an English unit and sees ghosts. He writes to his brother at home, and we see the war through his letters, life that's at turns desperate and funny and innocent and brutal and haunting and loved.This is one of the most beautiful and moving books I've ever read.

  • Danielle
    2019-05-15 03:02

    A fiction novel that I picked up in St. Andrews, Scotland, this story is written in journal format by a WW1 soldier. There is a grace to the writing and the characters that is understated and a certain beauty is undeniable even - and sometimes especially - during the darker moments. One of my favourite world war reads.

  • RUSA CODES
    2019-05-16 03:52

    This was one of the 1999 RUSA Notable Books winners. For the complete list, go to http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/rus...

  • Conor
    2019-05-10 03:43

    War and whatnot.

  • Thomas Knowles
    2019-05-09 01:04

    This is a new release from Event Horizon EBooks, an e-book reprint of the original 1998 Berkely/Ace printed edition. Note that the rating is posted by the publisher.