Sunday, January 4, 2009

Johnny Got His Gun

Titel: Johnny Got His Gun
Author: Dalton Trumbo
Bantam Books, 1989 (1939)

A young soldier of the Great War wakes up in a hospital and slowly realises that he has lost his legs, arms, nose, eyes, ears and mouth. The only sense left to him is touch. The narrative is a hodge-podge of his dreams, memories and thoughts, interspersed (and these are the most interesting I think) with his persistent efforts to find ways to tell time, to get to know the environment he's in and, finally, to try to communicate with his caretakers. The novel could have been a lot tighter; It is quite difficult to get through and I would not give it to students. For anyone looking for an account of trench life, this is not the novel for you. It is, simply put, a comment on the futility and insanity of war.

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