The Heroes' Welcome by Louisa Young
'Everyone gets damaged by war. You don't have to be in it to be damaged.'
'He noticed that the word for truth meant, precisely, not forgotten. A lethea. Not in the Lethe, the river of forgetting. Is that what the truth is? What you don't forget? What does that mean? Well, for a start it means everybody has a different truth...He thought about Calypso, the sex maniac who kept Odysseus prisoner in her cave for seven years; he thought about how Odysseus, in disguise, testing his wife, felt so strongly for her grief as she wept over the husband she thought was dead, yet he kept his eyes dry as pieces of horn beneath his lids. He thought about trust, and how when the ships of Odysseus' fleet moored in the safe-seeming inlet to sleep, every man aboard those ships was killed, and only Odysseus' own ship survived, because Odysseus had moored outside: he had not trusted. He thought of the fire step, sentries, all night, awake. Of the modern ways he had used to keep awake: nightclubs, cocaine, prostitutes, jazz. And of the Sirens, who sang of the truth of the battlefield.
Truth itself a drug, he thought, an addiction. A man could lose his life after war by wanting and needing to know the truth of what happened. Harking on the past. Am I doing that? Or am I drowning the truth? It's not that I don't know what happened - I don't understand. I don't understand.'
In Three Words: harrowing, thoughtful, moving
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Will you be reading this sequel to My Dear I Wanted to Tell You?