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  • Frances B

Falling For Fiction

For a long time I would only read non-fiction to satisfy my curiosity about the world. But to understand people’s personal experience and how people - with other experiences than mine - think about the world, I now love to read fiction and the occasional autobiography. Outrun, by Amy Liptrot (2018), is an absolutely outstanding example of the latter.

And as soon as I have finished Anna Neima’s entertaining non-fiction treatise Utopians, which describes the philosophies and practical problems of six utopian societies which (amongst countless others) sprang up in response to the horrors of WW1, I am looking forward to reading Neil Davies’ first novel, Falling Soldiers. Although a pacifist myself, as a governor in a NHS mental health hospital which has a veteran support service, I am saddened to learn that many ex-service people hide the fact they have been in the armed forces because of stigma. This means the many who are suffering from mental health problems frequently do not seek the vital help and support that is available.

Falling Soldiers is a gritty story about war veterans who find life without the army’s discipline and camaraderie difficult to understand and in consequence are “struggling with addictions, homelessness and suicidal impulses on our streets”. I know reading this story will help me to recognise and be less frightened of talking with these otherwise almost invisible people on our city streets who, with noble intent, gave so much at a young, impressionable age.

- Frances F, House of Hodge Trustee

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