Devastation Road – A vague memory and the desire to get home..
Owen wakes in a field. He is wearing another man’s clothes. He is hurt, he is filthy. He has no idea where he is, or how he got there. A young Czech boy appears and disappears; who the hell is he? What does he want? What did he do?
Devastation Road slowly discloses chinks of Owen’s memory; Sometimes it’s repeated, most of the time it’s jumbled and as the life of Owen is revealed and the pages turn, the memories form an orderly line and begin to make sense. Even if the truth seems too hard and harrowing to face.
I loved the writing. Jason Hewitt does a stellar job in describing the jumbled, panicked mind of Owen as he struggles to make sense of who he is and where he is. His ‘brother’ and partner in this confusing quest, the young Czech boy Janek, is an intriguing character with a plot of his own. Alongside them is young mother Irena, who I felt had the most gut wrenching tale to tell.
The puzzle pieces do not fit together entirely until the very last page and you find yourself willing Owen to remeber, even if it’s just a little bit. Devastation Road keeps you guessing, sending your emotions and thoughts into forests, camps, depression, fear, revenge and revolution.
A solid read and the embossed book jacket is something you need on your bookshelf.
3.5 Stars from me
The Book Jacket
A deeply compelling and poignant story that, like the novels of Pat Barker or Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong, dramatises the tragic lessons of war, the significance of belonging and of memory – without which we become lost, even to ourselves.
Spring, 1945: A man wakes in a field in a country he does not know. Injured and confused, he pulls himself to his feet and starts to walk, and so sets out on an extraordinary journey in search of his home, his past and himself.
His name is Owen. A war he has only a vague memory of joining is in its dying days, and as he tries to get back to England he becomes caught up in the flood of refugees pouring through Europe. Among them is a teenage boy, Janek, and together they form an unlikely alliance as they cross battle-worn Germany. When they meet a troubled young woman, tempers flare and scars are revealed as Owen gathers up the shattered pieces of his life. No one is as he remembers, not even himself – how can he truly return home when he hardly recalls what home is?
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