A Light Beyond the Trenches. Alan Hlad. 2022. [March] 362 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence: On the eve of the war crime, Max Benesch was crouched in a trench on the western front.
Premise/plot: A Light Beyond the Trenches is set (mainly) in Germany during the First World War (aka the Great War, aka The War to End All Wars). There are three primary narrators: Anna, Bruno, and Max. Anna is a Red Cross nurse engaged to a soldier, Bruno. During her time as a nurse, she has the opportunity to become involved in the very first guide dog school. They will be pairing German shepherds with blinded veterans and training them on how to function in the world so they can have some independence. This was a novel idea at the time. Max is a blind veteran who boards with Anna. He is paired with a dog Anna nursed back to health, Nia. Life in Germany during the war is rough--to say the least--starvation seems inevitable with so few supplies and resources. But Anna, Max, and Nia are finding the light in a very dark situation. Bruno's chapters counterbalance that light. He is still on the front.
My thoughts: You don't have to worry about the dog. There's that at least. But I was seriously not expecting this one to be....what it was. It was an intense, emotional read. I found the story unfolding in such a way that I just had to keep saying one more chapter, one more chapter, just one more chapter. It was new to me. I don't think I've read about the first world war from a solely German perspective. I definitely want to read more of this author's work. He was new to me.
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