A bygone era… The times they have a-changed
I have recently read a number of books, both fiction and non-fiction, which have looked back to the past. Whilst most give a chronological account of growing up, a couple stood out as slightly different.
One, fiction, was Douglas Roy’s Gently into the Light: An African story of War and Peace. This is an account of an Angus McDonald’s last years. Writing an almost daily account of his days spent doing the crossword, falling asleep on the verandah and elsewhere, his mind wonders back to events and times he experienced growing up. Angus’s reminiscences allow for reflections on times gone by. As a geography teacher, we learn about cold fronts and Gondwanaland while as a young man who lived through World War 2 and other conflicts, we experience the torment and challenges faced by men of faith. Other aspects such as the changes in South African culture and society also feature as Angus looks back on a life fulfilled.
Similarly, A Boy’s War Journal by Ray Wooster, takes us on a journey, albeit fictional, to 1939 when Britain was at war with Germany. Although in this account, the Germans manage to capture London, Wooster is able to convey the feelings and experiences of the time as seen through the eyes of young Billy, a teenager.
The Winspeare Lot by Pamela Howarth is another fictional account of changing times as young Polly Winspeare, born in 1972, grows up in semi-rural England.
The other, non-fiction, was Potholes, Pigs and Paradise written by Edwina Hall. This is the account of Edwina’s life from getting married during World War 2 to running a pub and bringing up two children. The level of detail in the book about the cost of items is almost astounding and provides an unusual insight into how people managed to recover and adapt to a post-war world.
Moving to an earlier war, Northwood VAD Hospital 1914-1918 provides an insight into the life of a convalescent hospital in England during World War One.
Douglas Roy comments at some point at the significance of war and violence as a dominant theme in reflecting, and how true this seems to be: take a look at the books referred to above…Share