"To read The Return of the Soldier for the first time is like diving straight into deep water", writes Sadie Jones, in her afterword to Rebecca West's short, taut novel about the losses of war, delivered not from the frontline but from the point of view of the ones surveying the wreckage back at home, and no less brutalising for it.
West was 24-years-old and already an accomplished journalist and woman's suffrage campaigner when she wrote this novel about the ripple effects of war, first described through the absense of the eponymous soldier, Chris, then through the pain of his return, with his shell-shocked, half-remembered memories of Kitty, his wife, Jenny, his cousin and Margaret, his first love.
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