Fog of War

day, A.L Kennedy, 2008

Legendary Avro Lancaster Bomber lancaster11m.jpg

Wonderful writing from Glasgow’s master novelist. The main character, Alfred Day, has grown up in the home of an abusive father and abused mother. To escape, he joins the RAF in WWII. Because of his diminutive size , Alfred becomes a tail gunner on a Lancaster bomber, where he can fit in the tiny tail gun turret. His bomber crew becomes his family as they set out to survive the war (30 missions required).

Typical Lancaster Bomber Crew bomber-crew.jpg

1941 Lancaster Showing Tail Gun Turret lancaster.jpg

The novel is written from the fog that is Alfred’s mind and in the modern manner we alternately find ourselves waiting for or in a mission bombing run, in a German prison camp (or is this a movie set after the war where Alfred is playing a British prisoner of war). The crew and their relationships are strong but vague. The missions are unforgettable but hazy. Characters in the prison camp (or is this the movie set in Germany?) are dangerous and ominous. Then there is the London married woman, whose barely remembered husband has disappeared as Japan overran Singapore at the beginning of the war. Does Alfred have a future with this lonely woman? Will they make it? Will the husband return? The crew is as curious as we are. Will Alfred survive the war with mind intact? One of the best ever writings that takes us into the mind of the common soldier/airman, caught up in world changing events with only his own internal moral compass for guidance. A.L. is a woman of exceptional writing skill.