12 February 2012

A Passage from Mary Lee's "It's a Great War!"

A truly beautiful book:
I'm no hero, you know, Anne. You don't want to forget that for one second." His dark eyes met hers. Anne looked straight at him. Whatever he had done, he wasn't ashamed.... Men's eyes, sometimes shifted.... His stayed... "If you know that the coin's comin' down tails some day," he said, "you, - you try to suck the orange dry before they knock it out of your hand. You've got to, to keep your mind off, - There's two things you can't think about: one's the fighting that you did today. The other's the fighting that you're goin' to do tomorrow. If you do, you get jumpy. You have to just live in the minute you're in, try to plunge into life up to the hilt in every minute. Get every smell and sound and taste and feel that's in it ... The beauty of it, and the extraordinary sweetness. Life's a sort of splendid stream of good things flowing past you, and you're a fly that can buzz round and taste 'em. Till Someone swats you. You know that Life's goin' on, - all the good things, - after you've been swatted.... That's the irritating part of it. That's why you feel so extraordinarily keen to be alive now." He took a sip of wine. (p. 163-164)


  1. Pretty mundane and unoriginal. Nothing Hemingway didn't say, and say a lot better. A sip of wine, really?

  2. It is a beautiful sentiment. I remember the scene that this is said in. Thank you for posting this from an important book about The Great War.

  3. I am trying to get a copy of this book through the Interlibrary Loan system but cannot seem to locate a library with a copy using its title and author information. Do you have the ISBN number of the book so that I might track it down that way? I would like to use it as resource for my PhD thesis, currently being written. Thank you.