P.S. Duffy's debut, The Cartographer of No Man's Land, is a complex historical fiction novel set in war-torn France and in far-removed Nova Scotia during 1917-1918. The plot follows the struggles of sailor and artist Angus MacGrath as he enlists in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (see 'Beyond the Book'), primarily to determine the fate of his missing brother-in-law, a soldier who has disappeared in the fighting in France. It also tells the story of the family MacGrath has left behind: his pacifist father, a grieving wife, and, most important, his thirteen-year-old son Simon Peter, who becomes the novel's other focal point.
Duffy covers a lot of ground, touching on a wide range of themes. There are, of course, the subjects one would expect in a book set in WWI: the horror and chaos of trench warfare; heroism; senseless waste of life; and love between comrades. Duffy ...
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