The Verdun Affair: A Novel

By Nick Dybek
Read by Jacques Roy

8.82 Hours 06/12/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9781508255017

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    ISBN: 9781508264446

A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart.In 1921, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn’t been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor)—a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac. Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks? From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafés of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief, and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie.

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Summary

Summary

An O Magazine Pick of the Month

A sweeping, romantic, and profoundly moving novel, set in Europe in the aftermath of World War I and Los Angeles in the 1950s, about a lonely young man, a beautiful widow, and the amnesiac soldier whose puzzling case binds them together even as it tears them apart.

In 1921, two young Americans meet in Verdun, the city in France where one of the most devastating battles of the war was waged. Tom is an orphan from Chicago, a former ambulance driver now gathering bones from the battlefield; Sarah is an expatriate from Boston searching for the husband who wandered off from his division and hasn’t been seen since. Quickly, the two fall into a complicated affair against the ghostly backdrop of the ruined city. Months later, Sarah and Tom meet again at the psychiatric ward of an Italian hospital, drawn there by the appearance of a mysterious patient the doctors call Douglas Fairbanks (after the silent film actor)—a shell-shocked soldier with no memory of who he is. At the hospital, Tom and Sarah are joined by Paul, an Austrian journalist with his own interest in the amnesiac.

Each is keeping a secret; each has been shaken by the horrors of war. Decades later, Tom, now a successful screenwriter, encounters Paul by chance in LA, still grappling with the questions raised by this gorgeous and incisive novel: How to begin again after unfathomable trauma? How to love after so much loss? And who, in the end, was Douglas Fairbanks?

From the bone-strewn fields of Verdun to the bombed-out cafés of Paris, from the riot-torn streets of Bologna to the riotous parties of 1950s Hollywood, The Verdun Affair is a riveting tale of romance, grief, and the far-reaching consequences of a single lie.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Narrator Jacques Roy transports Tom and listeners back through those memories with an incredible performance. Speaking in the first person as Tom, Roy keeps his voice even and well paced as Tom ponders his memories and regrets. French accents for the priests, an Austrian accent for Paul, and unique voices for Sarah and even minor characters who appear only once add emotional power to a love story that examines the human costs of war.” AudioFile
“Grief looms, shadowlike, over this beautifully calibrated novel, which recalls the work of Anthony Doerr and Michael Ondaatje.” O, The Oprah Magazine
“Capturing the fragmented textures of war’s afterlife, and the private desires that seem to glow with even greater intensity in memory, is Dybek’s true ambition.” Vogue
“A story of operatic complexity, narrated in many voices, rich in imagery.” New York Times Book Review
“[This] literary romance…unravels a love triangle and its players’ secrets.” Los Angeles Times
“An extended metaphor showing how relationships, loves even, can be shattered beyond all recognition, just as a human body can be obliterated. The author effectively communicates the spirit of place and time…[and] the powerful images of post-war suffering eclipse the image of long-dead romances.” Historical Novels Review
“Dybek is a master at creating an atmosphere of war, of decadence amid the rubble, and at dipping in and out of history.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“I am still haunted by the images of war so deftly conjured in the midst of an elegiac love story. Dybek writes with a commanding sense of story and language. This novel will not let you go.” Helen Simonson, New York Times bestselling author
“Rich and poignant and compelling.” Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author
“An intensely gripping story set in the immediate aftermath of war. From a still-smoldering battlefield, Nick Dybek conjures a sweeping saga of secrets, lies, mistaken identity, love and betrayal. This is the kind of book you can’t put down.” Claire Vaye Watkins, author of Gold Fame Citrus
“A masterful, sweeping novel of love and war and the way we reconstruct ourselves and our stories after everything has come apart. Nick Dybek is a vivid storyteller, and this is a beautiful and exciting book.” Ramona Ausubel, author of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Nick Dybek

Nick Dybek is a graduate of the University of Michigan and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the recipient of a Hopwood Award for Short Fiction, a Maytag Fellowship, and a 2010 Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award. He lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 8.82
Audience: Adult
Language: English