Thursday, 28 July 2011
The Absolutist - John Boyne Review
It begins with a young twenty-one year old named Tristian Sadler (our narrator). He has recently returned home from France where he fought in the Great War. He is returning a bundle of letters that belonged to a friend - Will - who was executed for refusing to fight. Immediately I knew that he had a strong connection to him and that his death had affected him in a profound manner. He was very much haunted by his memory. He meets with Will's sister Marian and so begins the story of how Will and he became friends. Right from the beginning I could see that their friendship was not a conventional one.They met at Aldershot where they are trained by a manical corporal to become soldiers. They spent almost every moment together andTristian's feelings become deeper. He does not think Will's feelings are reciprocated so he tries to deny his own nature. But one night everything changes and Will makes the first move. The next morning he is ashamed with himself and blames Tristian for what happened and goes out of his way to avoid Tristian. They do not meet again until they are in France where things change forever. I don't want to say too much because I don't want to ruin it but this book made me cry. My heart broke for Tristian and Will so many times.
Boyne's writing is almost flawless, it really transported me back to the trenches and made me feel as if I had lost a dear friend when it finished. I think this book will impress many and I recommend it to anyone looking for something more profound. I should not be surprised if I see this shortlisted for the Man Booker prize!