The Love-charm of Bombs by Lara Feigel

The Love-charm of Bombs

'The nightly routine of sirens, barrage, the probing raider, the unmistakable engine ... the bomb-bursts moving nearer and then moving away, hold one like a love-charm' --Graham GreeneWhen the first bombs fell on London in August 1940, the city was transformed overnight into a strange kind of battlefield. For most Londoners, the sirens, guns, planes, and bombs brought sleepless nights, fear and loss. But for a group of writers, the war became an ...

Details The Love-charm of Bombs

TitleThe Love-charm of Bombs
Release DateJul 9th, 2013
PublisherBloomsbury Press
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II, Biography

Reviews The Love-charm of Bombs

  • Roman Clodia
    On re-reading, this book worked better for me: perhaps because I knew what to expect, perhaps because I went in the second time with a specific interest in Bowen and Greene to link to fictional works of theirs - whatever the reason, Feigel's deft interweavings of the events of WW2 with the lives of these authors felt illuminating so I've raised by rating to 4 stars.--------------------------------------------The idea of this book really appealed ...
  • Nigeyb
    Lara Feigel, the author of The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War, was one of the interviewees on a very interesting, 2013 episode of BBC's The Culture Show entitled "Wars of the Heart". "Wars of the Heart" explained that whilst for many Londoners during the Second World War, the Blitz was a terrifying time of sleeplessness, fear and loss, some of London's literary set found inspiration, excitement and freedom in the dang...
  • Jane
    I was smitten with ‘The Love-charm of Bombs’ from the very first time I read about it. The prospect of seeing London in the Second World War through the eyes of five remarkable writers – Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Hilde Spiel and Henry Yorke (who wrote under the name Henry Green) – was simply irresistible.And I was pulled in from the very first page, into the Blitz. I found Rose Macaulay, who had already lived through ...
  • Susan
    Fascinating account of the war years of five authors: Graham Greene, Henry Yorke (Henry Green), Rose Macaulay, Elizabeth Bowen and Hilde Spiel. The first four shared friends and success in the London literay scene. Hilde Spiel was an exile from Europe, whose career was stalled and who struggled with money worries, upheaval and a feeling of dislocation. This book looks at novels written during those years, love affairs and the work done by the fir...
  • Roger Brunyate
    Endurance and AdulteryI don't normally read or review non-fiction, but this is a book about novelists. Two of them are favorites (Elizabeth Bowen and Graham Greene); two (Rose Macaulay and Henry Yorke a.k.a. Green) are great writers whom I have merely sampled; and the fifth (Austrian expatriate Hilde Spiel) was completely unknown to me. All five lived in London during the Blitz of 1940–41, engaged in often heroic civilian work, found their live...
  • Leah
    Extremely interesting multibiography that caused me to seriously question one of my favourite authors and add others to my "want to read" list. As the war stretched on the stories palled for me; people who were interesting and, dare I say, romantically urgent became insufferably preoccupied with love and unpleasantly conservative in their convictions. When even the Austrian immigrant who had felt out of place in England for a decade declared her ...
  • Jenny Tipping
    This book is encapsulated in a quote right at the end by one of its subjects Elizabeth Bowen, "War is a prolonged passionate act, and we were involved in it." It follows five writers, Bowen, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke, Rose Macaulay and Hilde Spiel from the declaration of war through to the 1950s, with a particular focus on their love lives and their writing.The book gives an alternative view of the war and I enjoyed seeing the war from the point...
  • Girl with her Head in a Book
    Elizabeth Bowen said in later life that 'I would not have missed being in London throughout the war for anything.' She was open about considering it the most interesting period of her life. That sense of excitement comes across very vividly in her most famous novel The Heat of the Day where Stella and Louie wander the deserted streets of Blitz-torn London and the ordinary rules of society are suspended. While World War One is known for its poetry...
  • Val
    The lives, loves, stories and wartime volunteer work of four writers are interwoven into a very well written history. Another writer, Hilde Spiel, gives a dramatic contrast.The author has done her research, but doesn't push all the information she uncovered, she selects. The quotations from diaries, memoirs, letters and fiction are well chosen and apposite. She uses war time records to good effect rather than listing statistics. She intersperses ...
  • Emmkay
    Quite marvellous exploration of the impact of living in London during the Blitz on five writers - Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Henry Yorke, and Hilde Spiel. Feigel writes deftly and intuitively, drawing connections between experiences, and wearing her careful research lightly.. Really worthwhile. Also, goodness, the adultery in those days! I feel very square. Though more sophisticated from having read this.
  • Barbara
    A truly intimate look at London during WWII and the Blitz, through the eyes of some of England's finest authors.
  • Kirsty
    The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War is the newest offering from established non-fiction writer and King's College London lecturer Lara Feigel. I was lucky enough to meet Dr Feigel whilst studying at King's. Here, she has attempted to create ‘a powerful wartime chronicle told through the eyes of five prominent writers: Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Hilde Spiel and Henry Yorke (writing as Henry Green)....
  • Suzanne
    Although very interesting, I was always aware during this account of five British authors and their experiences during the Blitz, that this would have been vastly more enjoyable to me if I enjoyed reading these authors. (Actually, I do enjoy Graham Greene, though maybe less after this unflattering view of him.)
  • Christopher Hull
    A great concept for a non-fiction book. Fascinating and well written.
  • Katrina
    It begins well enough but tails off.
  • Morpheus
    Surprisingly good account of five successful novelists' lives during and after World War II. This serves as a very interesting and educational timeline regarding general WWII events and day-to-day life in war-torn London, especially during the Blitz. These writers--Rose Macaulay, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke (writing as Henry Green), Elizabeth Bowen, and (less so) Hilde Spiel--all seemed to live their lives in a very self-centered and privileged fa...
  • False
    The book’s premise is how London was transformed into a battlefront during WWII, but for many (including writers) it became a bizarrely euphoric time for passionate love affairs and surreal beauty. Focus is given to five authors: Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen, Rose Macaulay, Henry Yorke and Hilde Spiel…and they crossed literary and social paths… and beds.Toward the end of the book (and the war) where the writers were reporting on what they...
  • Jaylia3
    Literate love among the ruins The Love-charm of Bombs has a very interesting slant on life during and immediately after WWII because its focus is the experiences of five noteworthy authors, Elizabeth Bowen, Graham Greene, Rose Macaulay, Hilde Spiel, and Henry Yorke, who wrote under the name Henry Green. Since it discusses the way the war affected what they wrote in such fascinating detail, it added a number of books to my already over long to-be-...
  • Virginia
    "Droning things, mindlessly making for one." - Elizabeth Bowen describing V1's.Love, World War II, London, the Blitz, buzzbombs...this book has so many things which have always fascinated me. Five writers (Elizabeth Bowen, Rose Macaulay, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke and Hilde Spiel) spent most of the war years in London. Through letters and diaries, Lara Feigel can sometimes pinpoint what each of them was doing on the same night. For Bowen, Yorke a...
  • Patricia
    If you love writing, famous authors, their lives, what factors influence their writing, the Brits, and the timeperiod of WWII, this book is for you. A well researched non-fiction book on the lives of five writers in London during WWII: Elizabeth Bowen who worked as a volunteer for the Home Guard in Marylebone; Graham Greene who volunteered for the Home Guard in Bloomsbury; Rose Macaulay who drive an ambulance; Henry Yorke who volunteered with the...
  • Paola Orellana
    This book was different from what I expected when I first picked it up. Expecting a book that empathized the courage and bravery of the English citizens, I found that and a bit more than I was expecting. Feigel had completely destroyed my illusions of what propaganda during 1940s London led me to believe. Expecting to find a story of how British citizens gathered together and found an ability to "keep calm and carry on", I instead found a city fu...
  • Janet Schneider
    Having loved Rhidian Brook's masterful recent novel "The Aftermath," the riveting "A Commonplace Killing" by Sian Busby, as well as Graham Greene's "After the Affair" and others, I was drawn to what was described as a critical look at literary lives impacted by the bombings of WWII. That is not this book. "The Love-Charm of Bombs" by Lara Feigel, despite having a great title, is an unfocused, uninteresting and awkwardly written account of World W...
  • Penny
    3Really good idea to interweave the lives of 5 writers and their experiences of life in London and beyond during WW2. The title is a bit misleading though as the book also covers the period after the war is over.The amount of adultery going on amongst all 5 is eye popping. But I guess that if you are pretty convinced that a bomb has your name on, or your country is going to be invaded or whatever then morals tend to fly out of the window. Graham ...
  • Amy
    I've always been fascinated about life in London during the Blitz, so when I saw that there was a book that covered five authors who lived in London during the Blitz and how it influenced their lives and writing, I was ALL OVER THIS. Out of all the authors, I am the most familiar with Graham Greene, and of all the stories, it was his that I focused on and really looked toward to reading. It was a bit remarkable at all the infidelity going on in t...
  • Bryonny
    This is an interesting hybrid of a book; part historical account, part biography, part literary criticism. I wasn't sure it quite worked at first, but it held together magnificently. An account of the Blitz through the lives and books of five British authors who lived through it - I was skimming for Macaulay, but the narrative was interwoven so skillfully with Bowen, Greene et al. that I read it as a whole. Three-dimensional in a way lit crit or ...
  • Will Dunfey
    In an odd way a comparable book to "Parallel Lives" - but with 20th century mayhem and multiple partners outside of marriage. The actual marriages of these literary figures in mid-century are as unusual as those depicted in the Victorian era of "Parallel Lives." There is a lot of analysis of authors' lives in the context of fiction that they compose and publish. Graham Greene, Henry Green, and Elizabeth Bowen are the three central and better know...
  • Maria
    While I gained greater insight to daily life in London during the Blitz, I was not very interested in the minute history of five British writers. I imagine the writer spent considerable time piecing the literary history of these writers and it would be relevant to anyone studying British literature. I found it tedious and wished the writer would avail herself to summarizing in grand sweeps ... though I suppose this would do a great disservice to ...
  • Amy
    Horrible title, interesting book. This followed five authors (Elizabeth Bowen, Rose MacCauley, Hilde Spiel, Graham Greene and Henry Green) during the Blitz and the years immediately after. I think I was expecting a little more interaction between the authors, and occasionally, it read as though it were a dissertation expanded into a book, but overall, it was enjoyable and prompted me to check out books by the various authors.
  • Mimi
    An impressive blend of literary, cultural and social history marred by the slightly awkward writing style that suggests that this was originally part of a more academic study. However, the level of research, the ideas that inform Feigel's narrative and her perceptive commentary on the work of writers such as Henry Green and Elizabeth Bowen more than make up for any flaws. A fascinating, informative and highly accessible piece that is well worth e...