I was fortunate to receive a copy of ‘Devastation Road’ from the author himself in return for an honest review via #BookConnectors. It is released in hardback on July 30th 2015 by Scribner UK, part of the Simon and Schuster Uk group.
At the end of the Second World War a man awakens injured and confused in a field, wearing ill fitting clothes . He has no idea who he is or where he has come from. ‘Devastation Road’ is the story of how he finds who he really is.
‘Devastation Road’ is a stunning read. Although this era has been used many times, this book provides a totally new perspective and approach so that it is utterly captivating. As I read I felt I wanted the narrative to conclude so I knew what happened, but at the same time didn’t want it to end because I found the writing so affecting. The narrative is rather like a flower that unfurls petal by petal, as Owen’s memories return, to create a work of beauty.
This is such an intelligent book. The title ‘Devastation Road’ has multiple meanings from the literal, physical devastation of war as refugees caravan their way along the road, to the emotional and psychological devastation of memory and identity so that the reader begins to question how they may have behaved in similar circumstances.
This is a very visual narrative with settings so vivid they place the reader at the scene with the characters. I thought not translating Janek’s Czech words was perfect, giving the reader the same fragmentary and confusing experience as Owen.
As the truth about Owen’s journey was gradually revealed I found myself completely empathising with him. He is by no means a perfect person and this makes him all the more real and engaging.
‘Devastation Road’ ranks with the best books I have read since starting this blog. If readers have enjoyed, for example, the Pat Barker ‘Regeneration’ series or Sebastian Faulks’ ‘Birdsong’ then they will adore ‘Devastation Road’. I cannot recommend it highly enough.