Eventually, Franklin is nursed back to health by Francoise; her combination of faith and serenity proves to be his saving grace. Somewhat inevitably, Franklin finds himself falling in love with this remarkable girl whose trust in a positive outcome is strong and unwavering. His feeling for her was as clear as the square blue light of afternoon sun through the window. It was as serene and permanent as the sunlight. Beside it all the rest of him now seemed sick and tangled and hollow. As the Germans begin to close in on the local community, the situation at the mill house becomes more perilous.
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Franklin knows the time is nearing when he must go, but will he be able to make it to across the border without being caught? I loved this novel for its combination of tension, gentleness and strong sense of humanity. Bates never shies aware from showing us the true horrors of war, both for servicemen involved in the conflict and for others left behind — particularly those in the occupied territories.
The moon was going down a little now, and the great glare that had lain over the snow-peaks had already diminished and was touched with amber. Something about the simplicity of presentation, the ordinariness of the subject s , and the depths that open up - just beyond the edges of the words. Which reminds me that J. Salinger once described R. Blyth's translations and commentary on haiku as 'sublime' I'd recommend any of his work.
Fair Stood the Wind for France by H. E. Bates | Waterstones
Bates may strike modern taste as a little too sweet at times, and perhaps a little too oblique, but his writing also has it seems to me that sublime quality. Though I might add, always just like the best haiku with a little mud on its boots.
Why did the pilot hope he'd landed in Occupied France rather than Vichy? What is the meaning of the title which is the first line of Michael Hayward's 's poem Agincourt? Would like to have more info. I also wondered about them hoping they had crashed in occupied France. After googling the only reasonable answer seems to be that the people in areas occupied by German soldiers would be more likely to want to help the Allied forces. Seems somewhat reasonable but the fact that it is mentioned two or three times in the beginning of the book makes it kind of important and I wish Bates had elaborated a bit more!
Saturday, 6 April Penguin no. Franklin looked at the revolver and saw it suddenly as a pathetic and useless thing. He saw his own belief in it as pathetic. He had become so used to handling a weapon as big as a house, and carrying enough power to wipe out a small town, that he had forgotten there are other types of power. He looked at the three people sitting in the lamplight waiting for a sound. He saw them, the three generations of one nation, as part of a defenceless people, as part of the little people possessing an immeasurable power that could not be broken.
He saw them suddenly as little people who had lain on the ground and had their faces trampled on but whose power was still unbroken. Bates that I bought and read then. For some reason they made perfect night-duty reading, perhaps because they are so readily visualised from the writing. I took some along and did a pitch for him at my book group recently and everyone had both forgotten about him and was then going to dash off and read again. Some of the novellas are little gems The Triple Echo one of my favourites.
When I first read this comment, Simon, I thought you said you had seen H.
Bates in the local pub!! But then I see you saw some of his books… and at 20p that sounds like a bargain.
Well spotted. Yes, he wrote The Darling Buds of May, and I was trying to work that into the review, but in the end just chopped it out entirely. He wrote dozens of books, actually, but according to the blurb on the back of this one, Fair Stands the Wind for France was his most popular. Thanks, Lynne. I notice that Penguin have re-released a handful in Kindle editions, which is interesting. This was a book I read as a teenager too along with all of Nevil Shute. I remember loving it, and I still have the old orange Penguin which I shall have to excavate and read again thanks to your brilliant review.
I have a copy of this at home I swapped it on readitswap it a while ago and you have made me really want to pick it up sooner than later. I love books set in France and this one sounds right up my street. That was a good swap, Boof! Yes, he seems to have written loads. I notice that Methuen Publishing have re-released several novels, including two which really appeal to me — The Feast of July, and Love for Lydia. I do feel a book-buying binge coming on!
Sounds wonderfu, and that is some recommendation. I shall definitely get this, thanks! Just one thing I wondered. I think the fault probably lies with me than with Bates. I read this with a modern mindset and kind of assumed Franklin was mids. But this was a time of war and I suspect that he had to grow up very quickly…. Thanks, yes, I can imagine that. Everyone seems to stay much younger these days, and yes, I expect war would have that effect. Thank you so much for sharing this book with your readers.
I like to read about characters more mature than their biological age, to inspire in goodness and beauty … at some point you just want to rest your soul on solid inspiration. I will certainly buy the book, based on your recommendation. My respects, Doina. Sounds wonderful — thanks for the education!
Fair Stood the Wind for France
Thank-you for your lovely comment, Doina. Am so glad you overcame your shyness to leave it!
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Yes, this is quite a beautiful book, the type that gives you faith in the human race when you read it. It was a chance discovery while browsing in a bookstore about a year ago. This looks wonderful Kim. I have just added it to my list of books set in France at Packabook… It is so wonderful when old-remembered gems rise again to the surface. Does the book actually mention which region of France it is set? Or is the location more generic? Hi again Kimbofo! I will come back here after I finish it.
Meanwhile, I browse the archive of reviews, for inspiration. Cheers, and thank you again. Wow, what a lovely response from all of the above. How many ticks do I need to go out and purchase this book: 1. By a writer unknown to me. Hi Suzi, the region of France is not specified… which is deliberate, because the family refuses to tell the airmen the name of the nearest town for security reasons.