Behind the Lines

Behind the Lines These eight short stories are works of fiction but reflect the author s real personal experiences while undergoing compulsory military training during his youth in apartheid South Africa The stories

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  • Title: Behind the Lines
  • Author: IanPatrick
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 349
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • These eight short stories are works of fiction, but reflect the author s real personal experiences while undergoing compulsory military training during his youth in apartheid South Africa The stories are all based on real events but the characters are the products of creative imagination, however rooted in reality they might be Readers will enjoy a range of humour and unThese eight short stories are works of fiction, but reflect the author s real personal experiences while undergoing compulsory military training during his youth in apartheid South Africa The stories are all based on real events but the characters are the products of creative imagination, however rooted in reality they might be Readers will enjoy a range of humour and unusual incidents frequently hilarious along with perceptive insights into the trials and tribulations faced by a young man seeking an identity in a confusing world of military discipline and rigid conformity.

    One thought on “Behind the Lines”

    1. It’s no surprise that a young soldier who could only make it through a long dark shift on watch by reading Shakespeare was not cut out for war. Ian Patrick’s ‘Behind the Lines,’ is a stunning autobiographical account of his experiences as a soldier in a time of military conscription in South Africa under the Apartheid regime. The book is comprised of what the author calls short stories but the eight vignettes flow into each other like chapters mapping out a timeline and culminating in th [...]

    2. This was so entertaining. It was over far too quickly. I read each of the stories one after the other and it made such a satisfying whole. These poor, poor guys who had to do army training during a terrible time. But what a nice attitude he has about it. Self-critical and witty and intelligent. I knew men from my uncle's generation who talked about these times. They had a strange affection for the experience, but uniformly hated it. How nice to read a wise look back at this, one that doesn't try [...]

    3. Ha, ha! Very, very good. A lovely little collection of superb short stories. I am so impressed with this. Subtlety. Intelligence. Wit. And really nice insights into the inner fears of youngsters as they try and fathom the real debates going on all around them. The poor guy worries about his inarticulacy, but he has no need to worry. He is intuitively intelligent and just needs to get away from the "boys" around him (and the girlfriend and her parents and neighbours) who are as thick as thieves w [...]

    4. How totally beautiful was this. A young man little more than my son's age having such beautiful thoughts amidst such awful experiences. What lovely advice the older boy (or 'older young man', I suppose) - Glen - gives him in the second story. If only all our children were given such sage advice. The Shakespeare in the tower in the third story with Neil Armstrong on the moon and Led Zeppelin in the USA was so delightful. What really lovely stories. I spent two-three delightful hours with this and [...]

    5. ‘Behind the Lines’ was a very interesting and delightful read. It gave me an insight into the life of a trainee soldier and what that entailed. We gather that the young trainee is actually Ian Patrick who describes his time in the South African army extremely well and he also covers the political situation in South Africa (SA). There are moments in the book that are amusing, sad, and poignant. I felt that the author showed great honesty in his descriptions of himself at that time of his life [...]

    6. I've read one other book by this writer, and I've got his series of four books also shelved for future reading. Those are all crime thrillers. This one is a collection of short stories. But they're not so much separate stories as short vignettes from the same person's experience. I wondered whether he should make this into a novel? The different episodes that he writes about are all somehow harmonious with each other and would make a good single narrative. Maybe that's his plan. Anyway, the stor [...]

    7. This was amazing. I think I might have been in the same bungalow as the author! 1969. Except mine was the July intake and his was January. It was just like this. Just as he describes. Some of those characters: I’ll never forget them. This is so uncanny. I loved the writing. The stories are so heart-felt and the underlying emotions are completely real, as far as I can see. I was going through much the same kind of change of life at the time. The stories are all good but my favorite is the one a [...]

    8. I had to read this when I was told that it was about an early-twenties young man doing boot camp. Having had the same experience (boot camp) at about the same age, it was a must for me. Well, what a delightful set of stories.The setting is very different than what I experienced, but also very similar in so many ways. The different personalities, the different experiences (including, I have to say, a regretable relationship with someone with whom I/he should never have started), and the thoughts [...]

    9. An intelligent and very entertaining set of memories.My parents listened to these stories with me. They come from the same era, and knew people who went through experiences like this. They loved the stories. We all laughed at the poor young guy’s mistakes and misunderstandings, his naivety and his immaturity, but we loved it as he came to awareness and eventually got the better of the system. This was a lovely collection of memories, casting lots of light on an awful period in South African hi [...]

    10. These short pieces are very good. I read the book then got the audio version and listened to the writer reading his own work. It was very good to hear him delve into the characters and the accents and feelings, etc. The experience of shutting one’s eyes and just letting the stories unfold was a good one for me. I enjoyed most of all the scene in the guard tower with the young soldier wondering what he was doing there while at that very moment Neil Armstrong was stepping on the moon and Led Zep [...]

    11. I meant to review this book some time back but forgot. Today I listened to the audiobook (twice), along with my dad (who says he was in the same army training at the same time and can't believe how accurate it is). We loved it. The stories are so good. The Afterword is amazing, too: it should be read by anyone interested in fiction writing and the relationship between real experience, memory and recorded experience. What a lovely moving piece it is. But the stories, too, are simply wonderful. Lo [...]

    12. More than a year ago I read my first Ian Patrick book. It was a crime thriller. Pretty gruesome, but thoroughly good. I then read a couple more of them over the course of the following year. All equally good. And brutal. So I wasn't expecting a completely different experience with this collection of short stories. The cover suggested more tough stuff. But I was wrong. These stories are so different in tone. Lovely humorus writing with lots of underpinning genuine emotional maturity as the young [...]

    13. Just entered the Giveaway for the paperback version, 'cos I just finished the kindle version. This is SOOOOO good. Clever writing. My father went through exactly this, and we loved the stories (I read them aloud to him because he struggles a bit). He totally did his nut on them. He told me stories about things like this, and he actually remembered some of the names of the guys. But the stories themselves are witty, honest, very funny, and so, so simple and straightforward. I loved the cool-drink [...]

    14. I've read crime thrillers from this writer so this was a new departure. Most enjoyable. Very intriguing to see how the military functioned in those dark days.But what is most interesting for me is that the characters are so delicately drawn with a few deft comments. I really enjoyed the stories. Short and meaningful and very much revelatory of subtle nuances in the system that governed these poor people. I wish it hadn't been so short. I was expecting more. But still, a nice tasty morsel. Easily [...]

    15. A different genre, this, from what I expected. But it was enchanting. Such a nice set of stories. I read them on my iPhone and they were perfect lengths for that.I loved the characters that were introduced - in most cases only briefly, but with just a little mention of a mannerism or a quirk here and there one had the complete picture of the kind of person this poor young soldier had to cope with all around him.What a nice gal he found in the end!

    16. This was a nice surprise. I've read a couple of crime thrillers by this writer and quite liked them, but this is a nice little gem lurking in the background. I take it the young soldier is very autobiographical. Most enjoyable two hours - the stories are most readable. Lovely insights into human behaviour and subtle politics. Nothing in your face. Can't stand that. This is very clever and always warmly human.

    17. Very enjoyable. I've only ever read a crime thriller by this writer but this shows a completely different side. I liked this so much I immediately re-read the stories once I had finished. They are all linked in a way - probably chronologically - but it was so nice to read each of them as little vignettes each revealing a little more of the character. I take it that it's very autobiographical. Wonderful essay at the end about the making of the stories. Very good.

    18. I heard the audiobook of the last of this writer's quartet thrillers and saw this set of short stories advertised so thought I'd dip in. Gee. Brilliant. I loved them. Not a crime thriller among them but the stories were so - well, lovable, really. Very sweet and nice to read. I read them on my smartphone, actually. They made nice little 'waiting-for-the-train' tales to read. Very good. I hope there will be more coming along.

    19. Some other reviewer somewhere called these tasty morsels. They sure are. What a delight. I read them with great mirth. I recognise so many of these experiences and difficulties. Real clever writing, this. I had only read a crime thriller collection by this writer before, but this is quite different and very enjoyable, I must say.

    20. This was a pleasure. Clever stories, well told, with lots of humour. But serious. Very serious. All about coming of age and dealing with one’s insecurities, the inarticulacy of youth, the political immaturity and the gradual awakening. What a nice journey that was through the night where he gets an education from an old gardener. Beautiful. I enjoyed these stories so much.

    21. This was quite pleasurable to read. Nice stories beautifully told, with great subtlety and quite a few laughs. I recommend this to anyone interested in trying to find out the trials and tribulations of young white South African males trying to make their way in the world under apartheid. It was not just us and our parents who suffered! This was very good to read.

    22. I loved the crime thrillers by this author so thought I'd try this too. Brilliant. Very different from his other writing. Very entertaining short stories. Read them on my phone, which is a new development for me. Good to have them when waiting for transport or waiting in line anywhere.

    23. Delightful short stories. Very, very well done. I loved the fact that taken together they create a whole over-arching narrative. The young man deserves that young woman near the end. What a couple they will make.

    24. Very entertaining. A slim collection: would have been more appealing if there were a dozen stories rather than just eight. But well written and very subtle with good humour and believable incidents and characters.

    25. Loved it. My dad thinks he was in the same camp! Lovely stories and all about coming to awareness at a crucial age. Very witty and touching, too.

    26. A slim morsel indeed - probably only interesting in that it mirrored some of my own expereinces growing up in Durban and doing National Service in SA.

    27. Very, very good. Quick reads and all packed with subtle humour. Most enjoyable. I liked the Alpha Bravo Charley story best of all. Honest and self-reflective in a way that we should all do.

    28. Quick read; short stories based on the author’s experiences with apartheid-era mandatory military service. Imbued with humor and compassion by a master wordsmith.

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