There's No Home, By Alexander Baron

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The Independent Culture

It's 1943 and the Allied invasion of Sicily is at full tilt. In a lull in the fighting, a British battalion marches through the heat into the heavily bombed city of Catania to be met by the women, children and old men, many of them emerging into the light after several weeks in hiding.

In a semblance of ordinary life, British squaddies begin to fill the roles left in families by absent husbands and fathers. First published in 1950, this semi-autobiographical novel by the late novelist and screenwriter, Alexander Baron, is a long way from subsequent, more romanticised, recreations of the period.

Many encounters described in There's No Home here will sound exploitative to modern ears, and even the love story at the heart of the book begins with a forced attempt at intimacy.