Sebastien Japrisot Writing Styles in A Very Long Engagement

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As befits a mystery novel, the plot does not unfold in a linear way. It jumps forward and backward in time, as the events of the weekend in which the prisoners were pushed over the trenches is retraced through the reminiscences and letters of a range of characters. The point of view remains that of Mathilde, and she acts as the unifying element and the fulcrum for the entire narrative, since it is through interviews with her, or letters addressed to her, that the truth of what happened unfolds gradually. The voice of the narrator is also heard occasionally, usually to deplore the stupidity of the war.

The style of the work is often poetic and somewhat wistful, as for example in the epitaph written by the Canadian patrol leader as he and others bury the bodies: "Here lie / five French soldiers, / who died...

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This section contains 487 words
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A Very Long Engagement from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.