How Many Miles to Babylon?

How Many Miles to Babylon Alec and Jerry shouldn t have been friends Alec s life was one of privilege while Jerry s was one of toil But this hardly mattered to two young men whose shared love of horses brought them together a
  • Title: How Many Miles to Babylon?
  • Author: Jennifer Johnston
  • ISBN: 9780141046969
  • Page: 197
  • Format: Paperback
  • How Many Miles to Babylon?
    Alec and Jerry shouldn t have been friends Alec s life was one of privilege, while Jerry s was one of toil But this hardly mattered to two young men whose shared love of horses brought them together and whose whole lives lay ahead of them.When war breaks out in 1914, both Jerry and Alec sign up yet for quite different reasons On the fields of Flanders they find themseAlec and Jerry shouldn t have been friends Alec s life was one of privilege, while Jerry s was one of toil But this hardly mattered to two young men whose shared love of horses brought them together and whose whole lives lay ahead of them.When war breaks out in 1914, both Jerry and Alec sign up yet for quite different reasons On the fields of Flanders they find themselves standing together, but once again divided as officer and enlisted man.And it is there, surrounded by mud and chaos and death, that one of them makes a fateful decision whose consequences will test their friendship and loyalty to breaking point.
    How Many Miles to Babylon? By Jennifer Johnston,
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      197 Jennifer Johnston
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    About " Jennifer Johnston "

  • Jennifer Johnston

    Jennifer Johnston is an Irish novelist and playwright.See contemporarywriters auLibrarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information.

  • 373 Comments

  • For such a brief book, How Many Miles to Babylon is a work of startling delicacy and power Set in the dying days of the Irish Ascendancy just before the start of WWI and the 1916 Rising ensured that all changed, changed utterly , it tells the story of two young Irish men Alex, an upper class Protestant, and Jerry, a working class Catholic, who become friends despite the class divisions between them a friendship that s both erotically charged and very strong, and which leads to one of the starkes [...]


  • Well, good grief How have I got to 48 and never read anything by this woman before This book was really excellent A poignant account of the trench warfare in Flanders and this would have ranked high just for that, added to it the story of friendship and loneliness and misunderstood compassion and it shoots ever upward It is written in the first person and as, in the opening paragraph, the narrator makes it clear he has only a few hours left to live and he is in custody there hangs over the whole [...]


  • A compelling, well written little story even though occasionally the word craftsmanship made itself a little too noticable.As I read the book that bloody mother really got my goat big time hideous, detestable crone that she was, even if she was disguised as a reasonably good looking and well brought up one My initial response was to want to consign her in my imagination to a different literary role, as Bill Sike s consort However, by the time she had exerted her power and malice to force her son [...]


  • BABTBlurb As a child Alexander, heir to the big house and only son of a bitter marriage, formed a close friendship with Jerry, a village boy who shared his passion for horses In 1914 both enlisted in the British Army Alexander goaded by his beautiful, cold mother to fight for King and Country, Jerry to learn his trade for the Irish Nationalist cause But amid the mud of Flanders, their relationship is tested by an ordeal beyond the horror of the battlefieldHow Many Miles to Babylon by Jennifer Jo [...]


  • This was apparently required reading for the leaving cert for some of my Irish friends I wish I d been made to read such wonderful ly slashy things in high school The plot revolves around WWI and class consciousness and male friendship, and it s a painful but beautiful story that I m glad I spent my last day in Ireland sitting outside in Merrion Square reading Even in less fantastic locations, this book still shines.


  • With a title referencing a traditional nursery rhyme this novel retraces some familiar ground How Many Miles to Babylon presents issues of friendship, family, class and war What makes the novel worthwhile is the fine writing style of the author Both the description of the desolation of Ireland as seen from the eyes of the impressionable youths and the experience on the fields of Flanders as it ends their innocence is well told The story begins, however, with the complex tale of a friendship betw [...]


  • From BBC Radio 4 Book at the Bedtimre Jennifer Johnson tells the remarkable story of a friendship during the First World War


  • Young Alec Moore lives in paradise It is the early years of the 20th century, and Moore is the only child of wealthy Anglo Irish parents, a member of the landowning aristocracy that has ruled the Emerald Isle for centuries The family mansion is nestled away in a beautiful valley in County Wicklow south of Dublin, surrounded by parkland and mirror like lakes and lowering green mountains a sovereign Arcadia that defines the limits of Alec s life But all is not well Alec is the product of a poisone [...]


  • Indecisa entre as 4 e as 5 estrelas, por isso fico me pelo 4,5.Um pequeno livro que nos conta a hist ria da 1 Guerra Mundial vista essencialmente pelo lado irland s Ao contr rio do que seria esperado n o se foca muito nas rivalidades Reino Unido VS Irlanda, mas sim na vida de dois rapazes Alec e Jerry, ambos irlandeses, mas muito diferentes entre si.O livro contado na primeira pessoa por Alec e foi, para mim, uma leitura dura, principalmente no fim Aconselho terem conhecimentos b sicos sobre a h [...]


  • Read it for school, and I don t know I feel about it to be honest I mean, it s the only one of my books that is on both my disappointing books shelf and my enjoyed than I expected shelf It should have been really good The storyline was interesting I know technically they aren t actually gay, but it was a heartbreaking story if you read it like that These two young men are on the brink of realizing they are in love with each other while fighting in World War I.The Irish nationalism themes throug [...]


  • I must admit that I would never have picked this book to read myself, I had to read it for school Leaving cert higher level course and I will admit I was pleasantly surprised to a certain point I thought it was going to be a hard slog of a book with meanings and messages shoved down my throat at every opportunity like most novels for state exams are, but thankfully it wasn t I can t fault Johnston s writing style, it flow and is very easy to read, her characters are well drawn and believable Apa [...]


  • A love story, really, between boyhood friends, on either side of the Protestant Catholic class divide, who end up in WWI Each enlists for his own reasons, and if we know anything of the Irish experience of WWI, we know before we start to read that this will not be a happy story The characters are solid, dense, and in the short space it takes to tell her story, Johnston creates a cast of perhaps ten characters who elicit powerful responses from a reader love Alec, love Jerry, loathe Sergeant Barr [...]


  • Oh What a surprisingly powerful novel One of our Irish neighbors recommended it to me, saying of all the books he was forced to read for school, this was his very favorite one And I must say, the book took me by surprise Though truly of a novella than novel, at only being a scant few pages over 150, it was beautifully written and so emotional I just loved it I do think, however, in order to truly appreciate it, you need to have some understanding of the historical and political context of the b [...]


  • I would personally not have picked this book if it was for a pleasure read but I had to read as part of my leaving Cert course for English The books develops around the themes of war, friendship, family and it links close to the social classes of education and wealth during the time it is set.Despite this being part of the course I quite enjoyed it which isn t always the case for books that I m told I have to read.


  • A brilliant, haunting and heartbreaking story that does a great commentary on the senselessness of class and the brutality of war It hammers home the importance of the two best equalisers in the world love and death.Longer discussion here youtu sq1GMERTVCI


  • At only 160 pages long, this novel packs a punch.I picked this book up on a whim it was prescribed on the Leaving Cert course and while I didn t study it, I was intruiged By the promise of horses, and by the fact that it was written by an Irish Author.First of all, I loved Johnston s writing style, it was lyrical and had a beauty to it, yet it never felt wordy or unnecessary It created a sense of loneliness which permeated throughout the novel, while also providing beautiful descriptions of rura [...]


  • God this book I ve read a lot of WWI literature, written both by the war generation and by those who came after it, but nothing has reached quite the level of delicate emotional intensity as this I think it s because the focus of the book is on the relationship between Alec and Jerry rather than broadly on the war, so even in a mere 156 pages you get so attached to the characters and the love between them Intimate really is the best description of this book, both physically the swimming togethe [...]


  • A beautiful book, witty and tragic in equal proportions The storyline was secondary to the quality of writing, in fact had it been stronger I would have given this the full 5 stars, but this book isn t about the story, it s about the way it is told A beautiful tale of rural Irish life at the turn of the 20th century, of childhood friendship and family relationships, which moves effortlesly into a gruelling description of life in the trenches during the First World War One thing I loved about thi [...]


  • The Eye of A Miniaturist More than a short story, but shorter perhaps than a novel, this novella deals with two lads from the same Irish village one hundred years ago One is the son of the manor house, born to privilege and expectations, while the other is poor, with litter education and fewer prospects.Both go off the same day to the Great War, one an officer, the other, a private, and it is questionable if both shall return.Ms Johnston write with the fine of a miniaturist, that the reader can [...]


  • Memorable, haunting descriptions of life in the trenches mark this wartime tale of two friends divided by class but joined by a war And what a choice Alec has to make when it s just he and his best friend and the war seems the furthest thing from their minds Though rich with description the writing had a dry sort of directness that reminded me of Catcher in the Rye.


  • Heartbreaking work about the horrors of war set in WWI The writing style wasn t necessarily my favorite, but it was very effective at evoking a visceral response to the character s experiences.


  • Definitely not my cup of tea, neither the writing style nor the plotline The characters also did not hold my interest.


  • A lovely short novel that you can finish in a few hours For me, if the homoeroticism weren t quite that restrained, the story would be even poignant Then again, in a way, the few moments of physical contact are all the precious for their scarcity, and because you are left wondering if there will be another one So there is perhaps something to be said for the author s choice to insist on ambiguity whether it s same sex love or bromance and where exactly do you draw the line between the two , th [...]


  • Set just before and during WWI, and equally importantly, just before the 1916 Uprising in Ireland, this tale of the friendship of two boys who become young men together is a powerful tale of friendship despite class divisions The ending is shocking and very, very sad.


  • This book is no good Simple as The fault lies in the characters, the plot, the themes the pacing, the relationships, the dialogue, the narrative and the techniques used in telling the story But to focus on the characters, the majority of the don t act like real people and are paper thin cut outs of stereotypes and cliches No character in this book is interesting, with the possible exception of the English major or Alex s father Relationships are not effectively represented and lacks the emotiona [...]


  • Manages to be heartbreaking and powerful despite being less than 200 pages longI found it easy to become invested in the lives of the two main characters whose unlikely friendship survives through sectarianism, class differences, and war The way the beginning and end of the book are tied together is also done very well and make the ending even impactful


  • Jennifer Johnston How Many Miles to Babylon The whole life of Alexander was suppressed by different people in different period of times When he was young, his mother controlled everything He needed to obey his superiors because of the discipline in the military Everyone could make decisions for him, except himself, in his whole life Luckily, he finally made his one and the only decision for himself with no regrets before the end of his life Although it was too late, his decision on killing Jerry [...]


  • I don t know if it was because I had to read it, or what, but I just didn t really like it There isn t a single likable character in the whole book, and shockingly little of interest actually happens until a rather unpleasant ending.The book starts off interestingly enough We meet Alec Moore, a young officer in the British Army who has been condemned He is going to tell us his life story, and how he got there This leaves you thinking that the book will be interesting, and full of mystery Wrong.W [...]


  • HMMTB is a novel set in the context of the first World War about the class system that divides childhood friend s Alec and Jerry Homeshooled and isolated from society, Alec grew in the midst of a cold loveless marriage he is a product from this lack of emotion His mother, Alicia, a strong believer in the class system, exerts control in society through her son, and uses him to help her develop her standing within society When Alec befriends lower class Jerry, she forbids it in the moment, not wan [...]


  • I picked this up while we were visiting the World War I battlefields in Belgium and northern France with the study abroad students I ve always been drawn to the tragedy and folly of WWI, particularly its impact on the lives and minds of the young people thrown into the trenches This book is very different from other works in the genre, the war is almost entirely in the background There are no horrific descriptions of the violence or the suffering, no discussions of battles or tactics, no examina [...]


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