2012 ALA STONEWALL HONOR BOOK
It is September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver a package of letters to the sister of Will Bancroft, the man he fought alongside during the Great War.
But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan’s visit. He can no longer keep a secret and has finally found the courage to unburden himself of it. As Tristan recounts the horrific details of what to him became a senseless war, he also speaks of his friendship with Will–from their first meeting on the training grounds at Aldershot to their farewell in the trenches of northern France. The intensity of their bond brought Tristan happiness and self-discovery as well as confusion and unbearable pain.
The Absolutist is a tale of passion, jealousy, heroism, and betrayal set in one of the most gruesome trenches of France during World War I.
“A novel of immeasurable sadness, in a league with Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair. John Boyne is very, very good at portraying the destructive power of a painfully kept secret.”–John Irving
“A thought-provoking and surprising page-turner that for some readers may recall Ian McEwan’s Atonement.” –Reba Leiding, Library Journal
“Extraordinary…The narrative is by turns surprising and tragic in equal measure while its troubling conclusion will stay with readers long after they’ve closed the book.” –Carlo Gebler
“John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature.” –Colum McCann
“A wonderful, sad, tender book that is going to have an enormous impact on everyone who reads it.” –Colm Toibin
“Political, personal, powerful…a fiercely interrogative novel that asks not just what it means to be a man but also what it means to be a human being in the extreme circumstances of war.” –Irish Times
“The Absolutist is surprisingly slim. Boyne conveys the period accurately and elegantly, but the characters–specifically Tristan, who narrates–are the stars. This isn’t a novel about WWI; it’s a novel about the unique horror of one man’s experience, and Boyne makes every word count.” –BookPage
“In this relentlessly tragic yet beautifully crafted novel, Boyne documents the lives of two inseparable men navigating the trenches of WWI and the ramifications of a taboo involvement.” –Publisher’s Weekly