Book Report: The Wars
By Timothy Findley
"The Wars" by Timothy Findley is a simple but entrancing book about a young Canadian soldier in WWI. Mr. Findley wrote the novel as a researcher trying to recreate the story of Robert Ross, the Canadian soldier. While the novel was written in 1977 a good part of the book was based on correspondence that Mr. Findley had with his uncle, Thomas Irving Findley, during and after the war, as well as some earlier family photos. Throughout the novel many of the humans basic instincts shine through as major themes; loneliness, violence and survival (for himself and others) when its most unlikely.
The book jumps around from the past to present from Canada and Europe and through flashbacks and interviews to keep the tone of the book varied. While this technique might have been used to keep the readers interest, I found it added to the intensity of the book.
For we didn't see just how the war was affecting Robert personally, but his family and friends as well. "Mrs Ross adjusted her veil but did not put the flask away... 'Why is this happening to us, Davenport? What does it mean - to kill your children? Kill them and then go in there and sing about it! What does that mean?' She wept- but angrily." (Findley, 54).
Timothy Findley seemed content on keeping Robert simple in his character and personality. Thus it allowed for the reader to connect to and sympathize with the character easily. In fact the simplicity of it all can leave the reader feeling emotionally exhausted because such intense and simple emotion is hard to grasp right away. " 'Robert?' 'Yes, Rowena?' 'Will you stay with me forever?' 'Yes, Rowena.' 'Can the rabbits stay forever, too?' 'Yes,