Beaufort

Leshem, Ron. Beaufort. Translated by Evan Fallenberg.  New York: Delacorte Press, 2008.

Reason read: Lebanon gained independence on November 22nd, 1943.

In a word, Beaufort is gritty. The military outpost Beaufort is a living nightmare for Israeli soldier Liraz, (better known as Erez), but yet he must defend it to the death. Twenty-one year old Erez commands the defense with thirteen boy-soldiers with insane courage, sharp wit and fierce loyalty. All around this crumbling and ancient fortress unseen enemies hide just waiting for the right moment to strike. And strike, they do. Erez is witness to death, up close and personal. In order to cope he and his men play a macabre game called “What He Can’t Do Anymore” where, when a soldier loses his life in battle, the survivors list all the things their fallen comrade will never do again. It’s a crude way of acknowledging his death as reality. By the end of Beaufort you will swear Leshem simply interviewed the real Erez and wrote it all down, word for word. Erez, crude and passionate, walks out of the pages in a blaze of glory and his words burn in the brain long after the last page is turned. I can why they made this into a movie.

Confessional: I have never done this before. Somehow I threw away all my notes for Beaufort. Which means I don’t have any favorite quotes to share, which is a shame because I know I had a few.

Author fact: to look at Leshem’s picture, you would never know at the time of Beaufort’s publication he was a deputy director in charge of programming for a television station. He looks like he should be in high school.

Book trivia: Beaufort is Leshem’s first novel.

Nancy said: nothing besides explaining the plot.

BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the no-brainer chapter called “Leavened in Lebanon” (p 130).


Flashman

Fraser, George MacDonald. Flashman. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.

This is one of those giggly books. The main character is so awful you can’t help but laugh at him and dare I say, even like him a little for his brazen attitude. The premise is Flashman is the first installment of the “Flashman Papers 1839-1842” a sort of journal of Harry Flashman’s. Readers get a taste of Harry’s storytelling from the very start: British boy Harry Flashman manages to get himself drunk, expelled from school and into his father’s mistress’s bed in less than the first dozen pages. What first appears as a punishment for another indiscretionary roll in the hay ultimately becomes Harry’s greatest triumph. He is sent to be a secret agent in Afghanistan and manages to emerge a brave hero after the Retreat from Kabul. Harry is so shameless he basks in the honor despite the fact his cowardice is the only thing that saved him. But, his story is told with such honest sarcasm you can’t help but enjoy his villainy.

Two of Harry’s lesser laughed at traits are his womanizing and his racial comments. One has to keep in mind the Victorian era in which these events take place. Women and minorities are not seen as equals on any level.

Typical Flashy moment: “She stood glaring at me. Her bosom was what the lady novelists call agitated, but if they had seen Judy agitated in a negligee they would think of some other way of describing feminine distress: (p 29).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter, “George MacDonald Fraser: Too Good To Miss” (p 94).