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Chronicling the wartime experiences of Christopher Tietjens, a brilliant government statistician and wealthy landowner, Parade’s End is a portrait of British society during the First World War. Described by Ford as the ‘last English Tory’, Tietjens is torn between his scheming and promiscuous socialite wife, Sylvia, and the progressive Valentine Wannop, a pacifist and suffragette — relationships framed by his reliance on a crumbling moral code. Ford presents a gritty and uncompromising portrait of Tietjens’s life in the trenches of Belgium and France, and his subsequent return home, suffering from crippling shell shock. Through a narrative brimming with modernist experimentation, we follow his struggle to reconcile his relationships while navigating the shifting sands of an evolving social order.
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