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Submitted Literature


By A.L. Kennedy


Told through the eyes of World War II veteran Alfred Day, the novel presents his struggle with memories of the war as they surface many years later during the filming of a prisoner-of-war movie in which he works as an extra. On the set, Alfred vividly relives his days as a bomber, suffering from guilt over the violence involved in the war. He also starts to connect his war activities with his childhood experience of domestic violence and the fact that this experience had led him to become violent, too. The third strand of the novel introduces the more conciliatory theme of love: already during the war, Alfred had met a married woman; they had met a number of times and exchanged letters. However, it is only when Alfred starts to work through his traumatic past that he feels ready to pick up the lost thread of love.

Key Themes:

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Violence

Significant Quotes / Pages

196 - "I was laughing. no sound but laughing. Aching wide smile. Pass the other brick to my right hand, draw back, let it go, let the fucking world go, let the fucking bastard go, throw your heart, aim it, because that will kill him - your heart, yourself, that makes the kill."

237 - "Has to be a mile wide, wider - colours in it that aren't colours, that rise from somewhere human beings cannot be, that fatten and swell - and there's a howl in it, you could swear, the sound of a monster.

Imagining the war must be over tomorrow. it must surely be done after this. Who could stand this?

And the howl dogging you home: screaming beneath the Merlins, raging, and you think

This is death."


Reference: A.L., Kennedy. 2007. Day. Vintage, 2008


Dr Gerd Bayer
Date Review Submitted: Thursday 9th April 2009