Don't think anything else of value can be written in a novel about the First World War? Wrong! This is a sad, elegiac, heart-rending account of a baffled Irish soldier fighting in the trenches and in Dublin during the Easter Rebellion. Yeats was right. A terrible beauty has been born. This book proves it.
The only thing different now was that when Willie sang too mightily he felt a dire need to cough. It was the little bit of gas remaining, he thought, in his chest, some little whirling marble of wretched gas that was upsetting his means of singing.