Oren, Michael B. Reunion, a novel.

Author:Hart, Ann
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review

OREN, Michael B. Reunion, a novel. Penguin, Plume. 353p. c2003. 0-452-28514-3. $15.00. SA

"On this ridge, in December 1944, we, the men of B Company of the 138th Infantry Battalion of the United States Army, fought for six days and nights against superior enemy forces. We did our duty. We gave it our best. Remember us." So it was carved in granite and ceremoniously unveiled the last day of the last reunion of the 138th.

Oren uses his father's war stories to construct his first work of fiction, relaying the poignancy and humanity of a group of men in all their eccentricities and disparities, forever linked in subtle and obvious ways because of their participation in the Battle of the Bulge. The characters include a nurse, a son, a sister, various wives, and 18 surviving members of the battle. We get to know them as they gather in the rebuilt hotel in Saint-Vith, Belgium, and through interviews with a young reporter from Paris looking for a big story. Reminiscences allow us glimpses of deceased members. The plot develops mysteriously on several levels. The company clerk, a professional historian and organizer of all their reunions. is unable to attend; and his son, carrying out his final wishes, is wondering what is eluding him...

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