This novel surprised me in two ways, two good ways. I expected it to be heavily focused on the First World War, and it is, to a point. I also expected to know how it was going to end, but I was wrong.
The changing time-frames that are inter-woven, together with the scene setting opening were a joy to read as the story moved along to gradually and ever so sweetly bring it all together into a wholesome end.
I did not race through this book, I am not sure one should, it is something to be enjoyed and taken in as you experience the First World War and all its brutality, as you experience the story of a man with no home trying to survive the war.
The most surprising part for me was that Stephen, the main protagonist, had an ending I did not expect, but my expectation of that ending changed many times towards the conclusion of the novel as new information was introduced until I was on my fourth thought for how it would end, only to be surprised again. For me, a novel that achieves that is remarkable.
I was so enthralled as I came near the end that I just had to finish it in one stint, despite that, it falls short of being an amazing novel for me, though I may revise that in the future. Do check out the BBC miniseries that captured the novel so well.