BookBrowse Reviews The Absolutist by John Boyne

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The Absolutist

A Novel

by John Boyne

The Absolutist
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  • Paperback:
    Jul 2012, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Karen Rigby

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A tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in the aftermath of World War I

Splicing scenes from Tristan Sadler's visits to Norwich, England (1919) with flashbacks of his training days in Aldershot, England and his struggles in the trenches of World War I France (1916), then forwarding to an evening in his life as an 81-year-old author in London (1979), John Boyne's The Absolutist examines one man's lifetime of unresolved guilt. These feelings partly stem from spurned homosexual love in a time when such partnerships were considered crimes.

Sadler is the anti-hero who cannot forgive himself for his role in the death of Will Bancroft, the titular absolutist who begins as a fellow recruit and later renounces fighting after witnessing the killing of a prisoner-of-war. Also a friend and sexual partner who refuses to consider their encounters as more than aberrations, Bancroft emerges as a flawed yet mythologized man - all of which creates a dramatic plot that ...

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