It's rare for me to read a novel in which I loathe and sympathize with the protagonist at the same time. All I can say is that, while life is tragic to a misfit in normal times, it becomes utterly monstrous in extreme times such as war. The story is disturbing but poignant, and the characters are flawed but pitiable. It's distressing to read a novel where you know for sure that things will only get worse. And the ending is just unexpected. From the title The Absolutist I expected some sort of absolution or redemption, but no, the ending is tragic and heartbreaking all the way through, yet in a way very deserving.
I imagine not everyone will like this novel as it is so upsetting, but it is very well-written, and very thought-provoking. Highly recommended....Continua
spring-2011, war, published-2011, philosophy, period-piece, glbt, wwi, suicide
Recommended for: Book at Bedtime R4 listeners
Read from April 26 to May 07, 2011
** spoiler alert **
blurb - September 1919: 20 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, 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. From the author that brought us The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The House of Special Purpose - John Boyne creates a story that examines the events of the Great War from the perspective of two young soldiers; whose friendship encounters an extraordinary challenge.
The reader is Blake Ritson.
The Absolutist was abridged by Doreen Estall and produced by Heather Larmour.