The Autumn of the Ace by Louis de Bernières

1.First lines. 2. Cover: Penguin Australia ; Penguin UK 3. Image of chair by the fire, by Roman Boed [Free for personal and commercial use. Attribution required] via Pxhere 4. Aviator by ArtsyBee [Free for personal and commercial use. No attribution required] via Pixabay

Published: 2020 Penguin Australia | Penguin UK Imprint: Harvill Secker Genre: Historical fiction Setting: United Kingdom. Canada. Series: Daniel Pitt Trilogy: #1 The Dust That Falls from Dreams; #2 So Much Life Left Over; #3 The Autumn of the Ace

  • THE STORY:
    • After World War 2, flying ace Daniel Pitt is reaching the autumn of his life, and this book takes him through to his old age and eventual death. It tells of his relationships, some broken, with friends and family as he returns to civilian life in England, where he finds it hard to settle after his action-packed career in the RAF. His adventurous spirit takes him to Canada, Peshawa and Africa before returning home to England.
  • QUOTES:
    • “As for me, I have had several very happy periods in my life, and have concluded that there is no such state as continuous happiness; there are only periods of it, whose memory and flavour carry you through the darker times until the light returns.”
    • “The odd thing about getting old is that the older you get, the higher the proportion of the people that you love are dead. You become part of a rapidly shrinking minority. When you’re my age you are one of the honorary dead. It’s made me look forward to moving on. To the last great adventure.”
  • MY THOUGHTS:
    • To me, the first part of the book seemed a bit “mechanical” in its style, explanations being used to fill the reader in on the story from the previous books in this trilogy. However, I was absorbed by Daniel’s story, and those of his family. In particular, I felt that the events related to the deaths of friends and family were portrayed with gentleness and compassion. Recommended as a very quiet and enjoyable read.
  • REVIEWS:
    • The Scotsman: “The third part of Louis de Bernières’ trilogy about RAF pilot Daniel Pitt, The Autumn of the Ace is a charming, old-fashioned read – just the novel for a spell in lockdown. De Bernières shifts the point of view as he pleases, sometimes shows and more often tells. He relates his stories in a rambling, easy-going way. His novel is a great baggy monster, with lush descriptive passages.”
    • Sydney Morning Herald: “Historical fiction and family saga are both well-ploughed fields, but a writer as gifted and full of heart as Louis de Bernieres is a rewarding read in any genre.”

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