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The Binger of Books

I am a slow reader, and even slower blogger. That said, I can go into bouts of frenzied reading that can last for weeks. And then nothing. Hence the name Binger of Books.

Currently reading

Dust to Dust: A Memoir
Benjamin Busch

War Babies By Frederick Busch - Half Way Review

War Babies - Frederick Busch

Almost half way through and I've gone from 2 stars to 4 out of 5. The more I get to know these characters the more I appreciate the book.


The first scene with Peter and his mother was quite confusing yet intriguing at the same time. You know when you've dropped into a conversation between two people who have known each other for a long time? There's a secret language, specific references completely unique to them, that you will never really understand. This is the feeling I got from both Peter and his mother, and also strangely between Peter and Hilary. Even though they had just met, I got the underlying feeling that there was a mutually shared pain and sadness. The strange, disjointed and choppy (as Serena described it)  conversations between Peter and Hilary at first were confusing. But then I started reading between the lines, it wasn't so much as what was actually said but the strange way it was expressed - going from blunt and to the point, then straight to random trivia, and even the quickness of them sleeping together. Nothing seems to be said yet everything is said (just not in the way convention would allow). I've known a few people like this in my time, so maybe if you've never met anyone like these characters, they would just confound you!


Some will find the characters hard to read and even harder to sympathize with. But for me, these are the most interesting characters because everything isn't always revealed directly, and they don't fit neatly into a 'likeable' two dimensional character (everyone has a dark side!). Busch seems to know people very well, maybe too well.


I feel this is an emotional book. I'm not sure how to describe it or if that even makes any sense. What people say literally isn't necessarily in sync with what they feel. All three seem to be lost and wondering souls. Fox has given in to his demons and, I would say, is a product of his time. I thought Hilary was alot older than Peter, but maybe that's because her experiences have made her cynical of the world and that pain she's been carrying around has aged her. Peter seems on the surface less affected, but is still troubled by the shadow of his father. I think the way he is almost led by Hilary, in conversation and into bed reveals he is vulnerable. But it is mutual, and I think Peter knows it deep down. I liked the playful tete-a-tete they had in the garden, they almost seemed like an old married couple!


The 'mystery' of what exactly happened in Korea is almost secondary to how these characters are coping with the aftermath. These are the war babies after all, and even Fox had to come back and live his life forever changed by his experience.


Looking forward to seeing where this is going...


PS Sorry you guys are finding this a confusing and frustrating read, hope I've given you a different perspective. Comments welcomed:)