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Publisher's Summary

These eight short stories are works of fiction but reflect the author's real personal experiences while undergoing compulsory military training during his youth in apartheid South Africa. The stories are all based on real events but the characters are the products of creative imagination, however rooted in reality they might be. Listeners will enjoy a range of humour and unusual incidents - frequently hilarious - along with perceptive insights into the trials and tribulations faced by a young man seeking an identity in a confusing world of military discipline and rigid conformity.
©2017 Ian Patrick (P)2017 Ian Patrick
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Customer Reviews

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By Hennie du Bois on 01-03-18

A delightful collection

Would you consider the audio edition of Behind the Lines to be better than the print version?

Not sure. They are both great. I've just listened to the audiobook today. I read the kindle version some time ago. It certainly bears out a second reading. The stories are so clever and subtle and amusing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Behind the Lines?

To tell the truth, the Afterword is amazing. What a fine piece of writing that is. The stories are all compelling, too, but when one reads that Afterword everything takes on even more poignancy and meaning. But all the stories were good. Maybe the best moment is when he takes the long journey through the night and gets an education from a sharp old market gardener as they drive down to Durban.

What about Ian Patrick’s performance did you like?

Very lucid and easy and cosy.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Bad soldier, good guy.

Any additional comments?

My father served in this same cohort of soldiers at the time this all takes place. He says it is completely accurate in every detail. He loved it, especially the audio version (he's read the book three or four times already and has just listened to the audio).

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful


By Alan Kincaid on 01-19-18

These are good stories, well written

Where does Behind the Lines rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Very good indeed. First rate.

What other book might you compare Behind the Lines to and why?

Lord of the Flies: about growing up and coming of age in trying circumstances.

What about Ian Patrick’s performance did you like?

Nice and easy narration, no fuss, just comfortable and clear.

If you could rename Behind the Lines, what would you call it?

Between the lines and behind the dialogue.

Any additional comments?

These short pieces are very good. I read the book then got the audio version and listened to the writer reading his own work. It was very good to hear him delve into the characters and the accents and feelings, etc. The experience of shutting one’s eyes and just letting the stories unfold was a good one for me. I enjoyed most of all the scene in the guard tower with the young soldier wondering what he was doing there while at that very moment Neil Armstrong was stepping on the moon and Led Zeppelin were hammering out songs at a gig in the USA and the sounds of the Beatles and others were permeating the atmosphere. That was cool. These are good stories, well written.


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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Chantel on 01-23-18

An intelligent and very entertaining set of memori

Where does Behind the Lines rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

First in line, for sure.

What other book might you compare Behind the Lines to, and why?

Short stories by Herman Charles Bosman, because they have the same intelligent humour behind them, and always end with such a nice simple sentence.

What about Ian Patrick’s performance did you like?

He reads well and his diction is good and his voice is warm and cosy.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Both. My parents listened to these stories with me. They come from the same era, and knew people who went through experiences like this. They loved the stories. We all laughed at the poor young guy’s mistakes and misunderstandings, his naivety and his immaturity, but we loved it as he came to awareness and eventually got the better of the system.

Any additional comments?

This was an intelligent and very entertaining set of memories, casting lots of light on an awful period in South African history. The final section, where the author reflects on how he came to write the stories, is very good. I loved the echo, at the very end, from Scott Fitzgerald, too. That was a lovely moment.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Trevor Robinson on 01-20-18

Well done and very insightful

Would you consider the audio edition of Behind the Lines to be better than the print version?

The audio version is particularly enjoyable because the author himself reads, and he obviously brings to the task a lovely familiarity with the characters. In fact, he paints them with gentle loving strokes and it makes the experience much more enjoyable for the reader/listener. There are some perceptive social and political observations, but so subtly conveyed that one is never conscious of any point of view being foisted upon us.

What did you like best about this story?

I’ve read some of this author’s other books, which I enjoyed, and was expecting another crime thriller. Surprise. This was so different and very, very good. I thoroughly enjoyed these tales of a young man growing up under awful circumstances.

Have you listened to any of Ian Patrick’s other performances? How does this one compare?

These are different and very enjoyable, but different genre.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Very touching in parts. Lots of laughter.

Any additional comments?

The character of Glen in the second story (the one called “Basic Training”, I think) is the only character throughout the entire collection of eight stories that engages in a political discussion, but it is so well done and very insightful. This is a book to enjoy more than once.

Oh, yes, and the afterword is a really beautiful piece, talking more generally about writing, truth, and fiction.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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