Monday, June 25, 2012

The Absolutist-John Boyne

The Absolutist

John Boyne

Other Press, Jul 10 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9781590515525

In 1919 twenty-one years old former soldier Tristan Sadler travels to Norwich, England to deliver letters written by his late comrade in arms and lover Will Bancroft, to his friend’s sister Marian. On an errand of mercy, Sadler suffers from battle fatigue as he was one of two survivors from his unit of mostly teenagers who fought on the Western Front.

Principled Will declared himself The Abolitionist. He refused to fight anymore and will do nothing in support of the war machine, as he watched in horror as teens like himself whom he knew die due to the stupid disregard of those in charge back in London and Paris to gain inches of ground from an enemy who fought the same type of trench warfare led from Berlin. Tristan knows the horrible truth how his lover died, but fears telling anyone the truth except Marian who rejects what he tells her.

This is a profound look at war from the perspective of those young expendables at the front lines sent to die by those still living in luxury. The storyline uses the muses of the lead trio and other soldiers to provide a complete picture of all dying on the western front; yet a homosexual love is condemned as perverted. Readers will appreciate this gloomy yet timely condemnation of those always ready to send someone else’s child to die for some allegedly patriotic cause yet those same flag raisers declare homosexuality as evil.

Harriet Klausner

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