Reissue to follow up publication of Paul Bailey's new novel Kitty and Virgil. Two of his previous novels 'Peter Smart's Confessions' and 'Gabriel's Lament', were shortlisted for the Booker Prize. First published in 1980, Old Soldiers is Bailey's most elegantly simple and perhaps most moving novel. The eponymous soldiers are two old men who (as his own father had been) are still haunted by First World War memories. Victor Harker -- a survivor from the Somme, dazed with grief after his wife's recent death -- gets entangled with another man, who splits himself into an 'unholy trinity' of parts by turns a military man, a tramp and a poet, he performs each part enthusiastically, with a loving attention to verisimilitude. It's only at the end that we glimpse the sixty-year-old shame and grief which he has wasted a life time denying.
'Old Soldiers has taken root in my head. It's a spare, intense, elliptical novel, beautifully and cunningly set in London which is at once drawn from Dickens and bang up-to-date.' - The Sunday Times
Very witty on the surface, but underneath heart-rendingly sad. Yet the after-effect, as with most good art, is consolatory . . . a beautiful example of Bailey's work.' - The Financial Times