Over There

Thomas J. Fleming, Author HarperCollins Publishers $20 (608p) ISBN 978-0-06-017983-0
Issues of life, death, honor, glory and the futility of war are given lip servce in this saga of WW I from the author of the bestselling Time and Tide. Set on the Allied front in France and grimly cataloguing countless atrocities there, the novel focuses primarily on the fortunes of nurse's aide Polly Warden as she changes from a wide-eyed, idealistic young woman into a shell-shocked and weary cynic. A recent Wellesley graduate with a major in French, Polly sails for the Continent determined to do her part, and is soon working at the front in a job described to her as ``tres difficile et tres dangereux.'' Danger and difficulty notwithstanding, Polly begins a love affair with Dr. Paul Lebrun, a brilliant but desperately disillusioned French surgeon who speaks repeatedly of ``le cafard,'' an affliction of the soul that ``resonates hunger, cold, the blood of brothers and foes.'' Following the war-complicated romances of Polly and others, including Gen. John J. Pershing, Fleming traces a cast of flat, stock characters (the leader, the spy, the poet, the foot soldier) through an uninspired, formulaic plot. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; author tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1992
Release date: 01/01/1992
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