It's September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver some letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside Marian's brother Will during the Great War, but in 1917 Will laid down his guns on the battlefield, declared himself a conscientious objector and was shot as a traitor, an act which has brought shame and dishonour on the Bancroft family. But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep in his soul. One that he is desperate to unburden himself of to Marian, if he can only find the courage. As he recalls his friendship with Will, from the training ground at Aldershot to the trenches of Northern France, he speaks of how the intensity of their friendship brought him both happiness and self-discovery as well as despair and pain. "The Absolutist" is a novel that examines the events of the Great War from the perspective of two young soldiers, both struggling with the complexity of their emotions and the confusion of their friendship.
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, July 2012: Disowned by his family due to an ill-advised kiss, Tristan Sadler enlists in the English army, hoping to prove himself on the battlefield but instead finding an unlikely lover. What begins as a slow-building World War I period piece (“Steady on, old chap”) grows deeper, more curious, and uneasy as it progresses--and midway through this sad and beautiful story, you realize you’re in the hands of a quiet master. Piling questions atop half-truths, John Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) has crafted a taut and tragic tale of love and war, with a kick-in-the-gut ending. The scenes in the trenches--“beneath the ground like cadavers"--are horrifying. So is the macho intolerance and fear of anyone who dares question the moral imperative of the terrible war, the alleged cowards and so-called “feather men.” --Neal Thompson
Guest Review by John Irving
I became an admirer of John Boyne’s writing with his first novel, The Thief of Time.
His latest, The Absolutist, is a novel of immeasurable sadness, in a league with Graham Greene's The End of the Affair and a no less masterful handling of the first-person narrative voice than Michael Ondaatje's The Cat's Table.
Boyne is very, very good at portraying the destructive power of a painfully kept secret —not to mention the damage done by the self-recriminations (and other condemnations) that are released when that secret is revealed.
The Absolutist is one of those great stories that is not what it first seems, though what the story appears to be is a powerful enough premise to begin any novel: a young soldier, returning from World War One, is traveling from London to Norwich to deliver some letters to the grieving sister of a fallen comrade.
We presume that the worst of what has happened is what we already know or have imagined of those trenches in northern France. (Boyne is also very, very good at historical fiction; The Absolutist begins in September 1919.) But the young soldier, who is twenty-one, has something to confess; this is a forbidden love story, a gay love story, but one with a terrible twist.About the Author:
John Boyne was born in Ireland in 1971 and is the author of seven novels. The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas won two Irish Book Awards and the Penguin Orange Readers' Group Prize. It was shortlisted for the British Book Award and was made into a Miramax feature film. His novels are published in over 40 languages. He lives in Dublin. www.johnboyne.com
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Buchbeschreibung London: Doubleday, 2011. Kart., broschiert. Buchzustand: Gut. 309 S. Einband leicht berieben/angestoßen, ansonsten gut erh. ISBN: 9780385616041 Sprache: Englisch Gewicht in Gramm: 460. Artikel-Nr. 142059