Private Thomas Leadbeater Turvey is nobody’s idea of a capable recruit. Shifted from regimental pillar to post, Turvey tries and fails at every odd job in the army with a remarkable genius for mishap.A casualty before he has a chance to see action, Turvey watches the maimed and dying return from the front; thus Earle Birney’s comic masterpiece becomes an unforgettable indiPrivate Thomas Leadbeater Turvey is nobody’s idea of a capable recruit. Shifted from regimental pillar to post, Turvey tries and fails at every odd job in the army with a remarkable genius for mishap.A casualty before he has a chance to see action, Turvey watches the maimed and dying return from the front; thus Earle Birney’s comic masterpiece becomes an unforgettable indictment of war.Turvey won the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour in 1949.From the Hardcover edition....
|Number of Pages||:||360 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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This book tells of the mis-adventures of Private Turvey, of the Canadian Army, in World War Two. This humorous novel begins with Turvey's basic training in Toronto and deals with his efforts to get overseas to fight in the war, which takes a long time. Once there, he has to overcome more hurdles, which shows the complexity of the burocracy of war. As Turvey finally reaches Belgium and Holland, the effects of the war on the civilian population are shown in an understated and subtle way. For example, the author describes the view from Turvey's hospital window--children and adults blue with the cold, people pulling the canal barges instead of horses. In the last chapter he describes the homecoming of wounded soldiers with compassion and empathy.
Slightly humourous at times, but also tiresome as Turvey is shuttled around for a few years by the incompetent bureaucracy of the wartime army, making it to the scene of the fighting too late (view spoiler)[the day after his best friend's head is blown off to be precise (hide spoiler)]. Then comes a depressing, dark segment of the book (though the theme of bureaucracy continues to the end). Turvey was just too stupid for me to really feel connected, and the women of the book...well, let's just say that when they're not being treated as sexual objects, they're being treated as stereotypes. I'd have loved to have loved this Canadian treatment of the subject, but alas, Catch-22 did it far better.
Enjoyable book with interesting vernacular and colloquialisms, a hapless protagonist, and a madcap plot that must have been rather unique in a 1949 war novel. Earle Birney ends the book on a rather sobering note, which is interesting... did he change the tone to preserve the glory of war or to pay respects to those consumed in it?Worth reading: subtly humorous, eccentric cast, WWII – know what you're getting into.
I enjoyed it...kind if a Canadian Catch-22, but with an endearing hero. Recommended!