Gossip from the Forest: A Novel - Thomas Keneally

Disclaimer: Arc via Netgalley.

 

                Thomas Keneally is most famously known, at least outside of his homeland, for his novel Schindler’s List.  This is re-issue by Open Road Media is a Keneally novel set in another World War I.

 

                Keneally focuses Petain and Matthias Erzberger as they journey to history and the Treaty of Versailles.  He reminds that not only are the men human but that perhaps history has been unfair to them.  For if anything, Erzberger comes across as the better man. 

 

                The title of the book comes from the style, for the story is relayed in an almost chatty tone with little asides.  The central characters themselves are more focused, in some cases, on their personal lives.  There is an also a disturbing trend of how some of the characters think about war.  The Second World War also hovers overheard, and nowhere is this more haunting than in Keneally’s portrayal of Petain – who comes across as almost dislikable.

 

                Yet, there is something about the novel that is cold.  It is an anti-war novel, an anti revenge novel, retreading in some degree the conclusion about the treaty.  It is powerful, but slightly off putting.