54 THREE SOLDIERS John Dos Passos (USA, 1920)
This novel follows the destiny of American soldiers in France during and after WWI. John Andrews, the central character, has lost his faith in the war and only dreams of music and becoming a composer.
This book was a disappointment. WWI is one of my main interests and because I've read books about it I have high expectations. While the ending was quite successful, it failed to capture the haunting mood that's so obvious in European books. I'm usually all about American literature but so far, when it comes to WWI, I do believe French and German writers have down a much better job. A lot of it has to do with a refusal to describe battle scenes which would have provided the reader with a better understanding of the extent of the soldiers' despair. When I read this book or when I read A Farewell to Arms or This Side of Paradise, I kept thinking that without my reading European novels about the topic I would never be able to understand what WWI was about.