My mother-in-law often spoke fondly of the Blitz. I had visions of her as a plucky young woman cycling down the bombed streets of London, going to work as a secretary to the stars of show business, enjoying ridiculously cheap hotel meals, and in the evenings going out on the town with an exciting boyfriend – perhaps a Turkish admiral, perhaps the man she later married. It always sounded as if she was having the time of her life. I was puzzled by this, because I knew her parents had both been killed in a bombing raid, though she didn’t talk about that. Was she unconsciously putting a positive spin on a time that must have been distressing and terrifying?
A collective biography of the Blitz
The Love-charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War
by Lara Feigel
Bloomsbury (Allen & Unwin), $29.99 pb, 519 pp, 9781408841037
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Jane Sullivan has been a print journalist in Britain and Australia for more than forty years. Her column about books and writing, ‘Turning Pages’, appears every Saturday in The Age. Her latest novel is Little People (2011).
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