Monday, February 13, 2012

A Very Long Engagement by Sebastien Japrisot

Many thanks to Eva who recommended A Very Long Engagement when I asked for recommendations for books set during World War I. I throughly enjoyed despite it not being the type of book I would normally read. 
The book starts with five soliders being marched to the front lines. They don't know where they are going or what will happen once they get there. One of them is Manech, Mathilde's fiance. Mathilde does not accept that Manech died on the front lines, in a trench, on a cold January night. She believes he's still alive and the story is about her search for him. As a reader, you don't know everything about Manech, Mathilde, or what happened on the front lines right away. Everything is doled out in tiny bits. It's a mystery, even to the men who were with Manech that day. I admired Mathilde's dedication to searching for Manech even though her parents wanted her to give up and live a life without Manech. I enjoyed her creativeness, how she retained they stories she heard, how she found connections in each of the stories. I was also really glad I read To End All Wars before reading A Very Long Engagement. I would have been lost in the names of the towns and the battle history. While not necessary to know, my prior knowledge added to my enjoyment of the story. 
Japrisot's writing is magical. I loved the attention to deal and how creatively he told the story. Often I felt the story moved slowly but the writing was beautiful I forgave Japrisot for not telling the story more quickly. I have not seen the movie. Would anyone recommend it?
Overall, it was a beautiful and moving love story. I enjoyed hearing about life in France, post World War I. I was glad that Japrisot included people from all walks of life so you heard about farmers, merchants, the wealthy and those struggling to get by. I would recommend it to those who enjoy a well crafted story. Others who shared their thoughts on A Very Long Engagement: Blogging for A Good Book, Bookworm with a View, and A Striped Armchair.
This was my second read for the War Through The Generations Challenge.


  1. Oh yay! You know, the movie version is just lovely. :)

  2. A movie version of this one?? Sounds like both of them are must dos!! Since becoming addicted to Downton Abbey, I've been wanting to read more about WW1...this one sounds really good!

  3. I am planning on reading this one for the War Through the Generations challenge too! Soon...maybe.


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