25 August, 2011

FSP by Arthur Gwynn-Browne (1942)

A few pages into this war memoir I was sure it was an Ern Malley-style hoax. Using simple, meandering speech-like patterns to describe his experiences as ‘Field Security Personnel’ in the first months of WWII, Gwynn-Browne produced a war memoir unlike any other. The style reminded me of Stein’s modernist classic Alice B. Toklas - and perhaps that’s the key. FSP’s avant-garde style allows the author a voice that does not shrink from the horror while also exposing the Catch-22-like absurdity of war. Once you cotton on to this, FSP becomes a very funny read and I don’t understand why it has slipped into obscurity.

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