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An Ice-Cream War: A Novel (Anglais) Broché – 5 octobre 1999

4.5 étoiles sur 5 2 commentaires client

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Broché, 5 octobre 1999
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Présentation de l'éditeur

"Rich in character and incident, An Ice-Cream War fulfills the ambition of the historical novel at its best."
--The New York Times Book Review

Booker Prize Finalist

"Boyd has more than fulfilled the bright promise of [his] first novel. . . . He is capable not only of some very funny satire but also of seriousness and compassion."  --Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

1914. In a hotel room in German East Africa, American farmer Walter Smith dreams of Theodore Roosevelt. As he sleeps, a railway passenger swats at flies, regretting her decision to return to the Dark Continent--and to her husband. On a faraway English riverbank, a jealous Felix Cobb watches his brother swim, and curses his sister-in-law-to-be. And in the background of the
world's daily chatter: rumors of an Anglo-German conflict, the likes of which no one has ever seen.

In An Ice-Cream War, William Boyd brilliantly evokes the private dramas of a generation upswept by the winds of war. After his German neighbor burns his crops--with an apology and a smile--Walter Smith takes up arms on behalf of Great Britain. And when Felix's brother marches off to defend British East Africa, he pursues, against his better judgment, a forbidden love affair. As the sons of the world match wits and weapons on a continent thousands of miles from home, desperation makes bedfellows of enemies and traitors of friends and family. By turns comic and quietly wise, An Ice-Cream War deftly renders lives capsized by violence, chance, and the irrepressible human capacity for love.

"Funny, assured, and cleanly, expansively told, a seriocomic romp. Boyd gives us studies of people caught in the side pockets of calamity and dramatizes their plights with humor, detail and grit."  --Harper's

"Boyd has crafted a quiet, seamless prose in which story and characters flow effortlessly out of a fertile imagination. . . . The reader emerges deeply moved." --Newsday

Biographie de l'auteur

William Boyd’s first novel, A Good Man in Africa, won a Whitbread Prize and a Somerset Maugham Award; his second, An Ice-Cream War, was awarded the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Brazzaville Beach won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize; and The Blue Afternoon won the Los Angeles Times Prize for Fiction. Boyd lives in London.

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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Although it takes a while for the tone and characters to develop, this book masterfully illustrates the absurdity of WW1 with plot twists and dark humour that will keep you engaged and entertained and eager for more.
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Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Excellent roman relatant les destins croisés de colons qu'une guerre absurde va détruire. Raconté avec humour et beaucoup de suspense.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x94a3bc60) étoiles sur 5 48 commentaires
60 internautes sur 61 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91f9f7f8) étoiles sur 5 When Terrible Things Happen to 'Essentially' Good People 8 décembre 2000
Par J. F Malysiak - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
While billed as a novel about the First World War, "An Ice Cream War" is really about the oftentimes tragic randomness of life and how we as humans really have very little control over our individual destinies.
This book could be subtitled "When Terrible Things Happen to Essentially Good People". It tells the story of two brothers, Felix and Gabriel Cobb; Charis, Gabriel's wife; Walter Smith, an American plantation owner in British East Africa; Colonel Von Bishop, Walter's neighbor, nemesis, and colonel in the German army; and Liesl Von Bishop, the colonel's bored and lonely wife. The War brings these people together from the far corners of the Earth and forces them into an interaction with tragic consequences.
The characters are never short of involving. The plot clips along at a breathless pace and there are at least two or three set pieces that are staggering examples of narrative brilliance. One of the author's greatest triumphs here is his ability to capture the environment and pervading atmosphere of sub-Saharan Africa during the War. When he speaks of swarms of black flies hovering over and resting on a corpse baking in the desert sun, the reader really feels it. The author is equally successful at capturing the aristocratic tone and manner of an English country house as well as a seedy, bohemian nightclub in London.
There is hope at the end, but a dubious kind of hope. There is the possibility for renewal but not necessarily redemption.
Boyd's images will linger long after the reader has turned the final page, haunting and insistent.
18 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91f9fc00) étoiles sur 5 Excellent Historical Novel set in World War I Africa 20 août 2000
Par Ein Kunde - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
"An Ice-Cream War" is the story of American, German, and British lives in Eastern Africa turned upside down by World War I. European and American settlers in Eastern Africa, once friendly neighbors, reluctantly turned to enemies. World War I battles in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the history of pre-WWI German colonization in Africa (more-or-less present day Rwanda, Burundi, and mainland Tanzania, Cameroon, Togo, and Namibia), are today mostly forgotten. The background of the novel is the amazing success of German lieutenant colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck (not much portrayed in the story), who commanded Germany's tiny, undersupplied African force (mostly African soldiers). He inflicted embarrassing losses on British forces at Tanga, and tied down Allied forces that outnumbered his own by at least 10 to 1 for the duration of the war. Against this fascinating and little-known history, "An Ice-Cream War" is an engaging novel of war, love, and revenge.
Boyd's comedy of diplomacy in Africa "A Good Man in Africa" is also recommended.
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x91f9fc78) étoiles sur 5 An odd omission . . . 18 mars 2011
Par Steve Paradis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
An odd omission, but somehow fully in character with this novel in particular and a major theme in Boyd's work in general. Boyd often inflicts torture on his characters by depriving them of a key piece of information. His American publishers did the same thing to his American readers, by omitting the letter which gave the novel its name. Here it is:

A letter from Francis Harold Burgess, East African Railway Volunteer Force, to his sister, Mrs. Arthur Lamont
Nairobi, B.E.A.
10 October 1914

Dear Cecily
. . . We are all safe here in the present awful turmoil. Of course when war was declared we might have been caught napping if the `squareheads' in German East Africa had weighed in at once.

I may as well give you the `orrid secret as by the time this reaches you the news will be stale, but we are going to take over German East Africa. Eight battalions are coming over from India besides artillery and will probably go in at Voi.

One cannot help smiling that while all the nations of Europe are flying at each other's throats we are quietly snaffling the colonies belonging to the common foe. One gets horribly bloodthirsty at these times and wishes that the whole German nation could be wiped out, but a few individuals saved, something after the Sodom and Gomorrah type. I do wish the British fleet could get in amongst the German fleet and put them all to `Davie Jones'.

As long as I remember there is another Burgess in the country (confound him). He is a Lieut in one of the Indian Regiments, 29th Punjabis I think. It is a nuisance as I am pestered with his letters as although they are addressed to Lieut Burgess they come to me. Military titles here at present are as common as leaves in autumn. Even the `donkey doctor' Stordy is a Lt Colonel and struts about in a staff uniform but is an awful sort all the same. Lt Col Stordy says that the war here will only last two months. It is far too hot for sustained fighting, he says, we will all melt like ice-cream in the sun!

Ever your affect. Brother,
F.H. Burgess

PS. I forgot to let you know that I am quite well thank you. Also that you will find a very useful map of B.E.A. in the Annual Report of the Uganda Railway, a copy of which I left in the library.

(Mind you, Boyd being Boyd, Lt. Burgess, his letter and his sister--and Boyd's thanks to Mrs. Lamont for permission to publish it--may be fictitious. He has only himself to blame for our wariness.)
16 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94a0200c) étoiles sur 5 educational history lesson plus enjoyable fiction... 1 septembre 2001
Par lazza - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
An Ice-Cream War is a historical novel concerning the war front in the African colonies of Germany and Britain during WW I. As with most folks I suppose, I know relatively little of WW I ... and nothing of the battles fought in these colonies. William Boyd educates the reader of this forgotten slice of history very nicely by enveloping it in a very realistic story concerning reluctant soldiers, both German and British, and their families. The author strikes a successful balance of wry humour and pathos, with the end result being that indeed war, or at least this war, is horribly tragic and senseless.
This is the second William Boyd novel I've read, the first being Brazzaville Beach. Although both novels involve Africa, they are quite different (Brazzaville Beach is a story about modern sub-Sahara Africa). Sadly for me, I had lofty expectations of An Ice-Cream War since I thought Brazzaville Beach was one of the best novels I've ever read. So I was in a sense disappointed with An Ice-Cream War even though it is a perfectly competent and interesting story.
Bottom line: historical fiction on par with the best works from Michener and Uris. However it doesn't quite reach the levels of literary excellence of Boyd's Brazzaville Beach.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x94a02144) étoiles sur 5 Sex and Death, Please. We're British. 29 octobre 2010
Par Daniel Myers - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I suppose most people, at some point in their lives, have been outside, say, an art gallery where art students, eager for extra dosh, will sketch your profile in a matter of minutes with amazing accuracy. This is, with words rather than with charcoal or ink, what William Boyd does to all his characters at the beginning of the book. They are stereotypes, of course, but stereotypes exist because, to some extent, they mirror reality. The characters whom Boyd leaves as they are, as two-dimensional "types" - the most notable being the hilariously nonchalant Wheech-Browning - serve as comic relief in what Harper's magazine is pleased to call the "seriocomic romp" aspect of the book. The ones Boyd chooses to develop and make three-dimensional: Felix, Gabriel, and Charis in particular are what make the novel worth the read.

Regarded as historical WWI fiction, per se, the book is not spectacular. Please read the wonderful Olivia Manning if you want that sort of reading experience. Boyd's modus operandi is quite different: He draws in the reader's sympathy for these three characters through their ever-changing sexual identities. He's a sort of much-abbreviated, very British Proust in this sense. Felix, originally typecast as your standard dandyish Oxford undergraduate with not very well-suppressed homo-erotic feelings for his brother Gabriel, becomes, after his affair with Gabriel's wife, Charis - a rather androgynous, Pre-Raphaelite figure - as efficient as soldier as one can become in the muddle that constitutes the British East Africa campaign. Charis herself, after a rather odd initiation into her sexual role during her brief honeymoon with Gabriel, and her pleasurable but guilt-ridden affair with Felix, becomes a tragic figure due to this confused sexual awakening. The most interesting of the three is Gabriel, who, first typecast as a manly, dashing and stoic British soldier, develops a dizzying schoolgirl infatuation with the very masculine nurse, Liesl, in a German POW hospital. So, rather than present us with static characters with static erotic proclivities, Boyd masterfully reworks them into the dizzyingly mutating and constantly evolving nature of their characters, of life and circumstance.

Of course - as Wheech-Browning pops in to remind us every so often - there is a very bloody war on and, by the end of the book, tragedies have befallen all the major players here described. Boyd may not be a master stylist, or one to bother much with the overuse of cliché, but he is an enrapturing storyteller whose characters come to life and breathe for the reader - a greater feat than many imagine.
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