Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Absolutist by John Boyne

Reviewer: Bob Lind, Echo Magazine
Pubisher: Other Press, July 2012
Pages: 320

Already on his own for almost a year, since being thrown out by his parents, seventeen year old Tristan Sadler lies about his age, in order to enlist in the British army, heading into war in 1919. He meets another recruit, Will, with whom he develops more than just a strong friendship, though the feelings may not be mutual. Together through years of training and brutal battles, only Tristan survives the war. After a time of recovery and soul-searching, Tristan looks up Will's sister, Marian, to return a package of letters that were among Will's property, and to make an emotional confession to her.

Boyne is an accomplished Irish novelist, with one of his books, "The Boy In The Striped Pajamas," having been made into an award-winning film. This story is told in flashbacks, alternating after and during the war, and can be darkly graphic and emotionally brutal. An outstanding, thought-provoking look at the passionate choices we make, and how we react to life-changing situations. Much recommended for all readers, five full stars out of five.

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