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Summary

When Captain Chris Baldry, a World War I soldier, is sent home with a severe case of shellshock amnesia, he is a stranger to his wife, Kitty, and his adoring cousin, Jenny. Recoiling from the horrors of war and disillusioned with years of superficial married life, his mind has regressed 15 years into the past, where his heart may take refuge once again in the magic circle of his youth and of his first love, Margaret Allington.

In this lyrical and poignant story of a wounded man and the three concerned women who seek to heal him, Rebecca West explores the complexity of the mind and its subtle strategies for coping with life's painful realities. Only when Chris has the courage to face one pivotal moment of truth in his married life will he be able to awaken from his boyish fantasy and become, indeed, "every inch a soldier".

©1996 Blackstone Audio (P)1996 Blackstone Audio

What listeners say about The Return of the Soldier

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Difficult to keep up with story

Although I stuck with it I found it difficult to keep up with. The narration was good.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-12-21

A clear and beautifully composed message for our times

One hundred years ago Rebecca West wrote this beautiful tale of young love and the traumas of adult life. We can not live an adult life as a child in even the most beautiful Garden of Eden. We are compelled to recognize the truth of human life, to answer the riddle of the Sphinx for ourselves, despite the pain. Not to be philosophers for whom the unexamined life is not worth living, but simply to remain human.
Put another way Rebecca West, a women writing 100 years ago has displayed and explained what we now call “male midlife crisis” as well as anyone has. I was compelled to reread this novella as soon as I had finished my first reading. I wish I could write her a thank you note.

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  • beatrice
  • 08-09-21

a gem

Wanda McCaddon (not Nadia May as per the description) is exemplary. I had previously enjoyed this book with a different reader, but McCaddon can't be beat. Her Kitty is perfectly catty, the comical Dr. Anderson amuses, and McCaddon's quick-as-thought narration conveys multiple levels of meaning. Brilliant debut novel by Rebecca West—I wish more of her work were available in audiobook form. There were a couple breaks in the narration that were distracting, but this audiobook was included with my subscription so I can't really complain.

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  • Robert S. Becker
  • 12-06-21

Very touching

After years of wanting to read a book by Rebecca West, finally I got to do it. Return of the Soldier was deeply satisfying. The story of innocence lost, innocence regained, and innocence lost again more painfully and profoundly.

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  • whatcha.listening.to
  • 06-07-20

The Return of the Soldier

This was an interesting story. Set in the period of WWI, it is some insight into how a wounded soldier is treated. Not wounded of body but of mind.

I quiet enjoyed the way this book was told. It was from the perspective of an outsider but not it was interesting for sure.

Classics are not really my thing but I am glad I picked this book.

The narration was great it kept me engaged and wanting to know more.

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  • blue_river @AudiobookObsession
  • 25-04-20

The Return of a Soldier

I listened to this book for a reading challenge this year and will be the first to tell you I am not a fan of classics in any way. Although I wouldn’t normally give this book four stars, I feel that even though it was not my preference, the book would be getting this if it were. There is depth and emotions that would grip a person who likes these type books and I cannot give it a low star rating knowing it would be hard for me to enjoy before I even started.

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  • Ron L. Caldwell
  • 03-05-19

A gem of Modernism

This is a beautifully written, heartbreaking novel that would probably be of interest to anyone who is curious about the WWI period. But, in fact, it's a worthy book from any era. The three women in the life of Chris (the titular soldier) each have a peculiar relationship with him. Jenny, the narrator, is our window onto their world and these relationships.

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  • sharon
  • 03-07-13

Kind of Boring.

I usually like older fiction but this story was pretty boring. Would not recommend it.