The dazzling new novel from the bestselling author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.
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
Boyne's new novel documents the lives of two inseparable men navigating the trenches of WWI and the ramifications of a taboo involvement. The emotive wartime saga is narrated by Tristan Sadler, a soldier en route to visit his dead comrade Will Bancroft's older sister Marian in Norwich, England, a few years after serving in the Great War. The story oscillates between Sadler's trip in 1919 to return Will's letters to Marian, and recollections of wartime, including a forbidden and fleeting homosexual affair with Bancroft, depicted by Boyne with the same polite, properly delicate prose that permeates the book. Bancroft is the self-declared "absolutist" of the title, objecting not only to fighting, but to doing anything at all that would "further the war effort." Sadler's feelings for Bancroft bring him shame amid the horrors of battle, eventually making an absolutist of Sadler as well. When the young Sadler confides the details of his time with Bancroft to Marian, she rejects him, a reaction echoed 60 years later, by which time Sadler has come into his own as a literary sensation. Once again he braves Marian's disapproval, inciting a final heartbreak. A relentlessly tragic yet beautifully crafted novel from Boyne (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas). Agent: Bonnie Nadell, Hill Nadell Literary Agency. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Extraordinary...The narrative is by turns surprising and tragic in equal measure while its troubling conclusion will stay with readers long after they've closed the book." Carlo Gebler "Powerful, poignant and beautifully written. This will become a classic war novel." The Bookseller "Compulsive, stylish and gripping" Reader's Digest "A wonderful, sad, tender book." Colm Toibin "John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He guides us through the realm of history and makes the journey substantial, poignant and real. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature." Colum McCann
This award-winning Irish author (The Boy in Striped Pyjamas) has written a most English book. In 1919, young Tristan Sadler, a recovering veteran of World War I, travels by train to Norwich to return some letters to the sister of regiment mate Will Bancroft, who was killed in combat. Readers looking forward- to refined conversation over tea as the two lament his death are in for an uncomfortable shock, as alternating lengthy chapters descend into the hell of a war not well remembered now: the mud, lice, and rats in the subterranean trenches, to say nothing of the carnage in meaningless battles. Tristan struggles with huge secrets. One is his homosexuality, which, in early 20th-century fashion, is not named outright. The other is Will's ultimate fate, brought about as the understaffed British troops arguably go mad under the pressures of war. VERDICT A thought-provoking and surprising page-turner that for some readers may recall Ian McEwan's Atonement, another novel with themes of war and recrimination.-Reba Leiding-, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.