William March’s short-story novel of World War I. I read the University of Alabama Press paperback.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
Times Read: 1
Seen the Movie: No
Members of Company K narrate their journey through training, WWI campaigns, and life after war.
The 113 sections of Company K are more flash fiction than chapters, each told from the point of view of a different soldier. The best section (and closest to a full-fleshed standalone short) is 10 pages but the average runs around 2.
We don’t get time to know any of these characters as individuals but I think that was March’s intention. The author in the first section says that he wants the book to be “a record of every company in every army” (p.13). March’s stance is that any man could have any of the experiences to follow. Still, I would have liked an index to show which sections each character appears in. It was difficult to keep track of character threads (I can’t quite call them “arcs”).
The lack of character connection leaves Company K weak as narrative, though it stands strongly as an anti-war, pro-humanity piece. And March’s writing, as we saw in The Bad Seed (review) is very good. Continue reading