Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy (book review)

A book review from The Movie Snob.

Fortunes of War: The Balkan Trilogy, by Olivia Manning (1960, 1962, 1965).  This is a trilogy of novels that I found in a single brick-sized paperback at Half-Price Books.  I thought it was a very interesting read.  It is the story of a newlywed British couple, Guy and Harriet Pringle, who find themselves stuck far from home at the outbreak of World War II.  Specifically, they are in Bucharest, Romania, where Guy teaches English at a college.  They hang out with other expatriates, observe Great Britain’s waxing and waning popularity with the Romanians as the Nazi shadow creeps ever closer, and generally wonder what will happen to them if and when the Germans decide to occupy their host country.  Apparently the books are strongly autobiographical, and sure enough they do read very much like reportage rather than fiction.  Although the writing is perfectly good, it’s really the “you are there” quality of the books that kept me turning all 924 pages.  (The individual books are called The Great Fortune, The Spoilt City, and Friends and Heroes, if you want to try just one.)


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