Okay, so I have just watched I Served the King of England. It was ... odd. I remember Closely Observed Trains so well for its juxtaposition of hilarious day to day happenings at the little station and the horror and tragedy of the Second World War which makes its presence felt so brutally at the end of the film. One of those endings you never forget.
This story was somewhat similar in that we follow the central character as a young man before, during and after the Second World War. I felt it tried to be light-hearted but it didn't really succeed so well for me as the earlier film. I won't go into the details as that would detract from your reading of the book, issybird. However I don't think it matched Closely Observed Trains and maybe that's true of the two books also.
I usually prefer to read the book before I see the film, which I would guess is true of most of us in this Club. However, time gets away from me, so this time I'm making do with the film.
I'll be interested to hear what you think about the book, issybird, if/when it gets to the top of the heap.