The Daughters of Mars by THOMAS KENEALLY

88%

5 Critic Reviews

Through Naomi, Sally and their friends, Keneally draws the war to a close. But while the story has epic dimensions, it stays close to these “daughters of Mars” and leaves us worrying how peace will treat them...He has rescued forgotten heroines from obscurity and briefly placed them center stage.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List, the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters from Australia, both trained nurses, whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the first World War.

From the acclaimed author of Schindler’s List comes the epic, unforgettable story of two sisters whose lives are transformed by the cataclysm of the First World War.

IN 1915, Naomi and Sally Durance, two spirited Australian sisters, join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father’s farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Though they are used to tending the sick, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first on a hospital ship near Gallipoli, then on the Western Front.

Yet amid the carnage, the sisters become the friends they never were at home and find them­selves courageous in the face of extreme danger and also the hostility from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humor, and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of the remarkable women they serve alongside. In France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccen­tric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their newfound independence—if only they all survive.

At once vast in scope and extraordinarily intimate, The Daughters of Mars brings World War I vividly to life from an uncommon perspec­tive. Thomas Keneally has written a remarkable novel about suffering and transcendence, despair and triumph, and the simple acts of decency that make us human even in a world gone mad.
 

About THOMAS KENEALLY

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Thomas Keneally began his writing career in 1964 and has published twenty-five novels since. They include Schindler’s List, which won the Booker Prize in 1982, The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates, and Gossip from the Forest, all of which were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He has also written several works of nonfiction, including his boyhood memoir Homebush Boy, The Commonwealth of Thieves, and Searching for Schindler. He is married with two daughters and lives in Sydney, Australia.
 
Published August 20, 2013 by Atria Books. 529 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, War. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Daughters of Mars
All: 5 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Alan Riding on Aug 16 2013

Through Naomi, Sally and their friends, Keneally draws the war to a close. But while the story has epic dimensions, it stays close to these “daughters of Mars” and leaves us worrying how peace will treat them...He has rescued forgotten heroines from obscurity and briefly placed them center stage.

Read Full Review of The Daughters of Mars | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Jay Parini on Nov 09 2012

This is a novel on an epic scale: its plenitude and anguish are life-enhancing, and the huge talents of Thomas Keneally are everywhere on display.

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WSJ online

Excellent
Reviewed by Sam Sacks on Aug 21 2013

Next year ushers in a half-decade of centenaries of World War I, and we will be buried in a landslide of novels and nonfiction competing for our attention. I wouldn't be surprised if Mr. Keneally's book turns out to be among the best of them.

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NPR

Good
Reviewed by Jean Zimmerman on Aug 20 2013

The Daughters of Mars (the title refers to the Roman god of war) is the work of a master storyteller, sharing a tale that is simultaneously sprawling and intimate. The two Durance sisters, Sally and Naomi, farm girls from the fertile Macleay Valley of eastern Australia, journey from their home in 1914, volunteering as nurses for the war's duration.

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Toronto Star

Good
Reviewed by Stephen Finucan on Feb 15 2013

Keneally is no jingoist. Indeed, The Daughters of Mars is unabashedly anti-war, a stance that is buttressed by the novel’s perspective...Thomas Keneally understands, and he helps us understand, too.

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Marc Reavis

Marc Reavis 14 Nov 2013

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