When Sam Richardson returns in 1946 from the 'Forgotten War' in Burma to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds the town little changed. But the war has changed him, broadening his horizons as well as leaving him with traumatic memories. In addition, his six-year-old son now barely remembers him, and his wife has gained a sense of independence from her wartime jobs. As all three strive to adjust, the bonds of loyalty and love are stretched to breaking point m this taut and profoundly moving novel, which captures what millions experienced in the aftermath of the Second World War.
'Unsentimental, truthful and wonderful'
Beryl Bainbridge, Independent's Books of the Year
'An outstandingly good novel ... One of the best English novels of the last ten years ... utterly credible, utterly compelling, and very enjoyable'
Allan Massie, Scotsman
'I like The Soldier's Return a lot. It is deeply felt, beautifully realised'
John Sutherland, The Sunday Times
'Sympathetic, touching, infinitely believable... This is a highly accomplished novel'
DJ Taylor, Literary Review
'Strong, straightforward, explicit, evocative ... It is common to compare Bragg to Hardy, Lawrence and Housman as a novelist of place, but more than anyone he reminds me of JB Priestley. He has the same much underrated strengths'
Geoffrey Moorhouse, Daily Telegraph
'The first Great War carne alive in Faulk's Birdsong; the second Great War, and in particular the Burma campaign, comes very much alive in Melvyn Bragg's new novel ... wholly absorbing'
John Bayley, Evening Standard