In Memoriam by Alice Winn
'Assured, affecting and moving. Alice Winn has written a devastating love story between two young men . . . Gaunt and Ellwood will live in your mind long after you've closed the final pages' Maggie O'Farrell
It's 1914, and talk of war feels far away to Henry Gaunt, Sidney Ellwood and the rest of their classmates, safely ensconced in their idyllic boarding school in the English countryside. At seventeen, they're too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle - an all-consuming infatuation with his best friend, the dreamy, poetic Ellwood - not having a clue that Ellwood is in love with him, always has been.
When Gaunt's German mother asks him to enlist as an officer in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, Gaunt signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings for Ellwood. The front is horrific, of course, and though Gaunt tries to dissuade Ellwood from joining him on the battlefield, Ellwood soon rushes to join him, spurred on by his love of Greek heroes and romantic poetry. Before long, their classmates have followed suit.
Once in the trenches, Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, but their friends are all dying, right in front of them, and at any moment they could be next. An epic tale of both the devastating tragedies of war and the forbidden romance that blooms in its grip, In Memoriam is a breathtaking debut.
'IN MEMORIAM is a gripping and unsentimental love story that brings the First World War to life in a vividly new way . . . an unforgettable novel, one I stayed up all night to finish, with characters I loved almost as much as they loved each other. . . Birdsong for a new generation' Joanna Quinn, author of THE WHALEBONE THEATRE
'I read through the night to finish this blistering debut, too feverishly engrossed to sleep. When was the last time characters in a novel seemed so real to me, so cherishable, so alive? Alice Winn has made familiar history fresh; no account of the First World War has made me feel so vividly its horror, or how irrevocably it mutilated the world. That In Memoriam is also an extraordinary love story is a sign of Winn's wild ambition and her prodigious gifts: this is a novel that claims both beauty and brutality, the whole range of human life.' Garth Greenwell, author of CLEANNESS and WHAT BELONGS TO YOU
'Alice Winn has pulled off a remarkable feat in making these men and the horrors of the First World War come so viscerally alive. It was like looking at a black and white photograph which has been colourised, and suddenly you understand that these shadowy people from the past also dreamed and cried and breathed just as we do now. I was completely absorbed, moved, and transported'Claire Fuller, award-winning author of UNSETTLED GROUND
'A tender story as much about love as it is about war' Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, award-winning author of HARMLESS LIKE YOU and STARLING DAYS