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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
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.
What started as an excellent review of a lawyer in jail, ended as a complete change in in procedures that had been started and carried out for most of the book, and then changed... Read morePublished 5 days ago by cyril rickwalder
What a powerful book and what a powerful ending. Our group said they enjoyed it, found it fascinating, ‘I completely loved the book’ and ‘really connected with it’, ‘logically... Read morePublished 23 days ago by Mr. D. P. Jay
Enjoyed the book, but this used copy had evidently been owned by a heavy smoker who bathed in perfume. Had to air it out before reading, but it retained a nasty stink.Published 1 month ago by Peter Delacorte
Provocative book, examines what courage and conviction is really about. I thought it was a true story until the last page.Published 1 month ago by Betty's Kindle
This would be the most sensitive book I have read. Very sad but so beautifully written and an indictment of the times in which the story takes place. A book that stays with you!Published 1 month ago by Grant Gordon
I was overtaken with great sadness reading this superb book.
To realize that 100 years after this chapter in history took place we are still battling the same taboos, ei:... Read more
Well written, intriguing, keeps you guessing. This novel invites a discussion on many levels. i highly recommend it.Published 1 month ago by C. S. Donlon-McAuliffe