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The Wars (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – Jun 24 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Canada; 1 edition (June 24 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143051423
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143051428
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,976 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.7 out of 5 stars
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A. Lakusta on June 6 2007
Format: Paperback
I am surprised at the reviews of this novel. I see some people claiming to have literally burned this book and I see a ?teacher? who condemns a Governor General?s Award winning novel without the courtesy of proper punctuation or even capital letters. And I see people claiming that this novel is the greatest ever produced by a Canadian. The truth is somewhere in between. But make no mistake: it is a classic for good reason.

Anger comes from confusion so it is no surprise to see many angry people reacting to ?The Wars?. It is a difficult read. Robert Ross is a difficult character to identify with because Findley holds him at arm?s length for almost the entire novel. The only instances I remember where the reader is given direct access to Robert?s innermost thoughts are in the opening section, before he enlists in the army. From there we are shown his actions and only the most obvious of thoughts. Much of the novel is presented as hearsay, where the reader sees the toll the war takes on both his family and personal life, and this is perhaps the reason for the negative reviews here: the reader cannot become attached to Robert Ross. Findley does not present empathy as an option. We are forced to examine his actions coolly with little emotion involved save the horror of killing or the pleasure of love. What does this say about Findley?s goal with this novel? Why does he not allow us to be close to Robert Ross? Because he is not a hero. He is not a great man. He was the average soldier (or officer, in this case) and his trials were average for the Great War.

This is a novel about World War One written sixty years (or so) after the armistice, and we are now approaching its one hundred year anniversary.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3 1999
Format: Paperback
Every once in a while I come across a book which I can't quite really get into, but I'm not sure why exactly. The Wars is just such a book. Perhaps it gets too buried in hidden motifs and literary allusions and the cleverness of the chronology that it alienates the reader.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 27 1998
Format: Paperback
Findley's writings are reader friendly, and the story flows smoothly enough. However the plot consists of hardly related incidents and the absence of a constant antagonist creates a bit of an aimless drift. Nevertheless, the images are vivid and the theme is poignant.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Quetzal on March 27 2007
Format: Paperback
From reading the other reviews for 'The Wars' by Timothy Findley it looks like they eithered loved this book or really hated it. Me I come somewhere down the middle since Findley does a comendable job when describing the terror and unreality of being on the front line of war, but he loses me with the abstract tone of the story with its changing narratives (from the archivest looking at pictures of Robert Ross,to interviews with two people that knew Ross, and normal third person ominiscent narrative). Because of it I couldn`t get a strong emotional connection to the main character.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book was okay. Needed it for a class and it came in good condition.
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By Gracelynn on May 8 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel speaks volumes in symbolism and will always be close to my heart. Through all the hard and the few good this book will make your heart sing and cry.
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Format: Paperback
I loved Timothy Findley's book. It's just so gorgeous in every way. The style, the concept of making the reader an historiographer, the fragmented narrative--all of this makes 'The Wars' a joy to reader from beginning to end.

We start out with a cryptic picture of Robert Ross, and then the rest of the story devotes itself to figuring out who this person is. He is an outsider in several respects: a homosexual living during the time of the Great War, a friend more to animals than to humans, and a Canadian inching his way into battle during a period of British dominance. (That said, he is an officer due to his affluence back home.)

That's just an outline of the man Findley wants to show you. This novel's about coming of age for Robert, and less apparently, for Canada. A definite must for any and all who wish to read about Canada during one of its defining moments of the Twentieth Century.
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Format: Paperback
It's been 18 years since I read this book and I remember it clearly. The writing is THAT good. Just now, as I write this review, I'm thumbing through it and I can vividly recall portions of the story.
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