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Download The Return of the Soldier Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Return of the Soldier, by Rebecca West Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,194 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Rebecca West Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 fifteen years, 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.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “For after The Return of the Soldier, there could be no doubt whatever that Rebecca West possesse[s] what had already partly revealed itself in her criticism—the supreme gift in literature, a creative imagination.”

    New York Evening Post

  • “[West’s] strength of mind, her powers of observation, her complete grasp of the workings of the human mind in abnormal conditions, as illustrated in The Return of the Soldier, are gifts that are denied even writers of considerable reputation and popularity.”

    Medicine and Surgery

  • “A unique poignant little piece of fiction…[West] develops a situation of remarkable power and fine emotional import in the searching light of which the handful of characters who make up this heart drama stand vividly forth.”

    Bookseller, Newsdealer, & Stationer

  • “In the same way that a fine actor can make Shakespeare’s verse sound spontaneous and natural, [McCaddon] gives West a voice that sounds familiar and unforced, allowing the poignancy and psychological sophistication of the story to be heard.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kristine | 2/8/2014

    " I love short novels that have such depth. West gets to the heart of the matter in the space of a few pages and does it without neglecting attention to detail; the description is quite lush. Shell-shocked Chris Baldry returns home from the front of WWI to a wife he doesn't remember, still in love with a girl from 15 years before, who's now an aged working-class married woman. West writes the story from the perspective of Baldry's female cousin, furthering the distance and conflict inherent in the situation. (view spoiler)[The title refers to both his homecoming and, sadly, his eventual return to the front. (hide spoiler)] "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Jacqueline | 2/6/2014

    " This isn't a review, but a complaint. West uses the phrase she wears "cheap stays" for every woman who is not of her class. Her small homes are "squalid", her Margaret was like a house that let out the smell of cooking cabbage and the sound of screaming children. Very purple prose. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by careen moreno | 1/11/2014

    " _The Return of the Soldier_ is a pretty quick read, set in Europe in World War II. It addresses a common theme at the time, which was how those who went to war and those left behind coped with the difficult reality of the time. The story is fairly simple, while capturing the very complicated emotional tangles of several people whose lives have been turned upside down by either going off to war, or being left behind to continue life as best they can. For those interested in WW2 literature, this is a good and quick read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Heather Shaw | 1/10/2014

    " My heart is breaking... Fucking Kitty... "

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