“March” by Geraldine Brooks (Australia)


Readers liked part one of the novel, told from Mr March’s point of view, much less than part two, most of which is narrated by Mrs March. They found the pace too slow and the narrative tedious at times. Most readers did not warm to the protagonist describing him as a naïve idealist who was more irritating than appealing. Some readers felt that the special connection which Mr March describes feeling towards his wife was too perfect. They were glad when the narrative changed to her voice and she reveals their problems and misunderstandings. They particularly liked her perspective on the scene when Mr March announces in front of a group of soldiers that he will go to war with them: he had thought she was silently encouraging him to go, whereas she was willing him not to go! Readers liked the historical context of the book though they saw it more as a backdrop to the relationships between the different characters and how the civil war affected them. They appreciated that the author portrayed all the players in the war (northerners, confederates, slaves) as flawed, underlining the point that situations are rarely either black or white, but consist of numerous shades of grey. The book averaged a 7.3 out of 10.


Set during the American Civil War, “March” tells the story of John March, better known as the father away from his family in ‘Little Women’, Louisa May Alcott’s classic American novel. In Brooks’s telling, March emerges as an abolitionist and idealistic chaplain on the front lines of a war that tests his faith in himself and in the Union cause when he learns that his side, too, is capable of barbarism and racism… Read more

Nicola’s Book Club reading list 

Season 9 – “War & Conflict around the World” (Mar – Jun 2009) 

“The Attack” by Yasmina Khadra (Algeria) *
“A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali” by Gil Courtemanche (Canada)
“March” by Geraldine Brooks (Australia)
“The Siege of Krishnapur” by J.G. Farrell (U.K.)

* The book club favourite

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