Riffle through Google’s top pages and you may discover what really happens at the British Armed Forces’s Princess Royal Barracks in Deepcut, Surrey.
I am an ex-pat Brit living in Israel, a country of compulsory enlistment; where almost every family on all sides has been adversely affected by regular wars and almost incessant terrorism. So while everyone shows a brave face and tries to maintain a sense of humour, I’m unsure that I’m able to recommend this trivial black comedy which, in fewer than two hundred pages, reduces army service to a mix of verbal and physical fights, binge-drinking, sex romps and car crashes.
To observe that many young (British) people join up to escape domestic misery is a platitude. But McEwan, herself a former soldier, is apparently unaware of love for monarch, flag or country and marches on regardless.
** Unlikely Soldiers Book One: (Civvy to Squaddie) is available from Amazon (Kindle, $0.99; Paperback, $7.99).
© Natalie Wood (23 January 2017)