Coverart for item
The Resource The evening chorus, Helen Humphreys

The evening chorus, Helen Humphreys

Label
The evening chorus
Title
The evening chorus
Statement of responsibility
Helen Humphreys
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
The story of James, a pilot struggling to survive in a German POW camp, his young war-bride, Rose, back in England trying to make sense of her life, and his sister, whose own story is also rewritten by the tragedies of WWII
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Captured as a prisoner of war after he is shot down during his very first mission, James Hunter copes with Nazi captivity by studying a family of birds nesting just beyond the camp’s confines. His devotion to their daily habits draws the attention of the kommandant, who bewilders James with uncharacteristic acts of kindness. Yet as James immerses himself in the welfare of the fledgling birds, his newlywed wife, Rose, struggles with their separation, which may be too much for their young marriage to successfully weather. In the midst of her loneliness and confusion arrives Enid, James’ sister, fleeing war-damaged London and carrying burdens beyond the loss of her home and job. Like birdsthrown off course by severe storms, James, Rose, and Enid all emerge from the war in places far different from where they started. Inspired by the resiliency of the natural world, Humphreys (Coventry, 2009) creates a narrative arc that is compact and sinewy, yet from her spare prose and refined imagery springs an arresting novel of regret, contrition, and redemption that glimmers with transcendent moments of hope and valor. An ingeniously elegant and instinctively restrained tale about the durability of the human spirit. -- Haggas, Carol (Reviewed 12-01-2014) (Booklist, vol 111, number 7, p29)
  • /* Starred Review */ Humphreys (Nocturne, 2013, etc.) offers a heartbreaking yet redemptive story about loss and survival surrounding a British prisoner of war during World War II and the wife he barely got to know before his capture. After James' plane is shot down on his first mission as an RAF pilot in 1940, the former grammar school science teacher spends the rest of the war in POW camps, where he watches fellow prisoners fail, often fatally, in their attempts at escape. Deciding he prefers simple survival, he eschews such attempts and concentrates on keeping a journal on local birds. He also develops a complicated relationship with the prison's kommandant, a classics professor who studied at Oxford and serves grudgingly in the military; he recognizes a kindred spirit in James and allows his nature study. In her nuanced description of the kommandant's attempts at kindness and James' responses both during and after the war, Humphries uncovers the human dimension in wartime brutality. Meanwhile, deeply in love with his new wife, Rose, James purposely writes her letters focused on bird lore instead of his own condition because "he doesn't want his words home to degenerate into a litany of complaint." In a sad irony, Rose misunderstands his intent—not unlike the way James misinterprets the kommandant's intent in taking him to see a rare cedar waxwing—and assumes he doesn't feel strongly about her. Desperately lonely, she becomes involved with a soldier stationed nearby, discovering with her lover the passionate emotion James feels but cannot express. Cut to 1950 as James and Rose face the war's aftermath with varying measures of guilt, bitterness and resilience, not to mention what ifs. As Rose realizes, "[i]t's so hard to get life right....All the small balances are impossible to strike most of the time." Humphreys deserves more recognition for the emotional intensity and evocative lyricism of her seemingly straightforward prose and for her ability to quietly squirrel her way into the reader's heart.(Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2014)
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10399370
Cataloging source
YDXCP
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1961-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Humphreys, Helen
Dewey number
813/.54
Index
no index present
Literary form
novels
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Prisoners of war
  • Airmen
  • Husband and wife
  • Survival
Label
The evening chorus, Helen Humphreys
Instantiates
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1066032
Extent
1 volume
Isbn
9780544348691
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780544348691
  • (OCoLC)867078397
Label
The evening chorus, Helen Humphreys
Publication
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Control code
1066032
Extent
1 volume
Isbn
9780544348691
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
  • (Sirsi) i9780544348691
  • (OCoLC)867078397

Library Locations

    • Central LibraryBorrow it
      710 W. Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX, 78701, US
      30.2713021 -97.7460168
Processing Feedback ...