In Memoriam

By Alice Winn,

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Why read it?

4 authors picked In Memoriam as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Alice Winn writes with great tenderness and depth of understanding about two young men who fall in love against the backdrop of the Great War.

As a lesbian who struggled in my youthful years with coming out and finding my place in the world, I resonated with the shame, trepidation, and ambivalence these men experienced.

I love to support authors who grapple with the difficult questions around acceptance of gays and lesbians, and I applaud Alice Winn for the heartfelt story she tells in this novel. 

I tore through this book in no time but didn’t want it to end.

In Memoriam offers a look at the horrors of the trench warfare of WWI through the eyes of two young British men who are high school chums and very much in love with each other.

I was as much captivated by the depths of their friendship as I was horrified by the violence that surrounded them. Not an easy read at times with all the senseless deaths experienced by that generation, but extremely moving in its depiction of the intensities of both love and war.


In Memoriam ripped my heart out (in a good way) and then put it back again...

Set in 1914, the story opens as the First World War begins. Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood are friends at boarding school, leading privileged and sheltered lives. When Gaunt enlists and heads off to the trenches, Ellwood has no choice but to follow his heart. 

This tale of devastating tragedy and forbidden love was so realistic, raw, and beautiful, it made me sob. In Memoriam is a beautiful, poignant, devastating love story. But the depiction of life as a soldier in the trenches drew…

I guarantee it's only a matter of time before In Memoriam is acknowledged as a modern classic, and the fact that this is the author's debut only makes this more impressive.

Spanning the length of the First World War, from outbreak to peace, the novel sections itself into three. First establishing its gorgeously painful best-friends-to-lovers, seemingly-unrequited/actually-unexpressed romance between stoic scholar of Greek tragedies Gaunt and light-hearted poet Ellwood, it tracks the rise and fall of these characters through the hellish trenches of France and Belgium, through to the battle to survive prisoner of war camps, and – eventually – shines…

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