Saturday 13 November 2021

πŸ“– Book Nostalgia on Hist Fic Saturday ~ The Absolutist by John Boyne

I'm really privileged to read so many latest release books which are so current they haven't even hit the book store shelves that I forget about the books which have influenced my reading over the years.

So, welcome to my mid-month Book Nostalgia feature where I'm allowing myself the luxury of going back in time with some of my favourite reads.

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's wallow in book memories... and go back to 1917


During the years 2014 - 2018 I ran a weekly feature commemorating WW1. This included music, poetry and books set during the time. 

The Absolutist is one of the stories I read back in 2017, its effect on me was profound and deeply moving. It remains in my list of favourite novels about the First World War.

This is my book nostalgia read for Remembrance Weekend.

πŸ“– What's it all about...

September 1919: Twenty-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a clutch of letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside Marian's brother Will during the Great War. They trained together. They fought together.

But in 1917, Will laid down his guns on the battlefield and declared himself a conscientious objector, an act which brought shame and dishonour on the Bancroft family.

The letters, however, are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep within him. One that he is desperate to unburden himself of to Marian, if he can only find the courage. Whatever happens, this meeting will change his life - forever.

Here are my thoughts, written when the book was first published in hardback in 2011...

From the start of The Absolutist, I was engrossed in Tristan and Will's story, and found myself really hurrying the pages to see what happened next.

The description of the time in the trenches is poignant, desperately sad, and hugely horrific, but never without tender philosophy.I loved both characters, and wanted everything to work out for them - but like all those who fought and died in the Great war, nothing would ever be the same again.

John Boyne is a master storyteller, who manages in a few short sentences to convey a complete world, and a time and place that really exists in your subconscious, with characters that come to life, and who live on in your memory, long after the last page is turned.

Beautifully narrated with a profound sadness which has stayed with me since I first met Tristan and Will. That's why I make no excuses for featuring again this excellent WW1 novel written by an author who is, always, at the top of my favourite historical novelists.

John Boyne is an Irish novelist born in Dublin.  He has written novels for adults, children and a collection of short stories.

Twitter @john_boyne #TheAbsolutist #WW1

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