Saturday, November 28, 2015

Nightingale - Aleksandr Voinov

A long time ago, I read a book. I've read thousands since then, of course, but that one stuck with me. Even now, after so many years it's still one of my favorites and to be honest I didn't think I could find another to resonate with me so intensely. That one was written by a French fighter  pilot flying with the RAF during the WWII and it was his combat journal. I remember living every single combat on the page, relishing in his every victory. Because he made me feel. Just like Aleksandr Voinov's Nightingale does. That book, which name I will not give, because it isn't about that, ended with a bitter sweet "They didn't understand." They, those who lived in the occupied Paris, without having to live the fear of each sweep, of each dogfight. And I didn't understand either. But with Nightingale, I was forced to. Not only that, but it made me feel, and what more could I ask from a book?

Yves' story took me to that occupied Paris, to the fear of the bombings, and of the German's and Gestapo, and never knowing if you'll see the next morning. The daily struggles are almost glossed over, the lack of coal for heating, the lack of food, or clothing, they all make room for the more pressing matters of dealing with the oppressor while retaining your self and staying alive in the process.

The plot is not predictable. It kept me guessing till the very last page. The love story is real. If you're looking for fluff, you won't find it here, but there is a subtle sweetness to the book, a fondness that makes me think this is one of Aleksandr's favorite stories.

I can say in all earnest that Aleksandr Voinov is, if not the best, than one of the best out there. Hats down to you, Aleks, and thank you for a great story!

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