Books to curl up with: a librarian's musings

Saturday, July 30, 2005

The Era of the Saga

My friend the Tiny Little Librarian recently asked the question about your five most important books. I listed the works of R.F. Delderfield as one of mine.

Delderfield began writing during World War II and continued to his death. He started with plays, but is best known for his sprawling family sagas and Napoleonic works today. His sagas are my favourites. In the 50s, 60s, and early 70s the English family saga was very popular and he was among the best writers of the genre.

As a result of the TLL's question, I pulled To Serve Them All My Days off the shelf to look at. This is one of his stand alone works.

It is the story of David Powlett-Jones. Powlett-Jones is from a Welsh mining family who is sent home during WWII suffering from shellshock. Since there is a lack of educated men to teach, he has an opportunity he would have never had before the war. He gets a chance to teach at a public school (in the US this would be a private school).

The story is set between the wars and looks at the changes he and the boys go through. It is also an examination of the social history of the time.

Delderfield's skill as a writer draws you into the lives of these people and you hate to see the book end.


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