Written by A.L. Kennedy
Publication Date September 01, 2007
In 1939, Alfred Day had wanted war. And when he got it, he found purpose in its turmoil: he found his proper role as tail-gunner in a Lancaster bomber; he found the wild, dark fellowship of his crew; and -- most extraordinary of all -- he found Joyce, a woman to love. But now, that's all gone: the war took it away. And maybe the war has taken him away, too.
Before Hitler and the bombs, Alfred was a boy in Staffordshire, helpless to defend his mother and resist his abusive father. The RAF gave him order, skills, another family, a way to be a man. It taught him how to burn through lifetimes on night ops and brief, sweet leaves, surviving. But it didn't prepare him for capture, for prison camp and chaos as the war wound down. And it certainly didn't prepare him for an empty peace. So, in 1949, Alfred winds back time to see where he lost himself as an extra in a POW film -- and begins to do what he's never dared -- to remember.
In Day, A. L. Kennedy has crafted a superb novel about the brutal simplicities of war and the complexities of human emotion. Above all, Day is wonderful storytelling: the freight of history and humanity carried effortlessly by the beauty of the writing.
The author of six novels, three books of nonfiction, and five collections of short stories, A. L. Kennedy’s last novel, The Blue Book, was longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, and her novel Day was the 2007 Costa Book of the Year. She has twice been selected as one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists and has won a host of other awards. She lives in London and is a part-time lecturer in creative writing at Warwick University.