HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Absolutist by John Boyne
Loading...

The Absolutist (2011)

by John Boyne

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
347None31,330 (4.02)42
Member:sefkhet
Title:The Absolutist
Authors:John Boyne
Info:Black Swan Books, Limited, Paperback
Collections:Read in 2012, Beth's Library
Rating:***
Tags:twenty-first century literature, british literature, fiction, wars of the twentieth century, lgbt themes, psychiatry and mental health themes

Work details

The Absolutist by John Boyne (2011)

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 42 mentions

English (28)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Catalan (1)  All languages (34)
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
A good story which doesn't stand up to close inspection, unfortunately. Once past the first few chapters, clumsily introducing a fairly original (for me, anyway) twist on the standard 'trench narrative', I was quickly swept along by the plot, told in flashback. A year after the war, Tristan Sadler travels to Norwich to deliver in person a dead soldier's letters to his sister. He also has a confession to make which will not make him popular, for two reasons.

All very engrossing, but the weak characters and irritating anachronisms kept whittling away at the credibility of the tale until, by the final forced 'twist', I didn't really care about Tristan or his misery. For a start, Tristan is less an unreliable narrator, and more of an awkward author insert. He claims to be the son of a butcher, who joined up at seventeen and was forced to leave school early, yet he speaks like a character from a novel by Evelyn Waugh, and is somehow gainfully employed as a publisher's assistant, straight after returning from the trenches and with no education. Also, Tristan's childhood echoes the 1970s - 'we're an item', 'feel her up' - more than the Edwardian era. The chapters set in France are trenches-by-numbers, with much mud and splattered brains, yet the awkward engineering of the denouement makes a mockery of Tristan and Will's relationship.

In fact, Tristan's doomed devotion to Will was about the only part of the narrative I did buy, despite being telegraphed early and obviously. I would have appreciated further insight and a more 'organic' ending to their relationship, but John Boyne obviously favours the clever literary device.

A fast-paced and dramatic read, let down by style over substance. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Apr 10, 2014 |
I have, somewhat reluctantly, given this book three stars. The first 80% of the book deserves three stars. It is a well written treatment of war, bravery, so-called cowardice, and sexual confusion and conflict. It was intriguing enough to keep me interested. But, the last two chapters came very close to undoing everything I was feeling about this book. So contrived...so unbelievable. It is difficult for me to recommend this but many others have really loved it. So, judge for yourself. ( )
1 vote m2snick | Feb 19, 2014 |
READ IN ENGLISH

The latest novel by John Boyne! I couldn't wait to read it, but unfortunately I was supposed to get this book as a Christmas present (First World Problems), so I had to wait a little time.

It was a real touching story in my humble opinion. I personally don't really know a lot about the 'Great War' aka The First World War. This has to do with the fact that The Netherlands were neutral during WW1 and therefore don't have the same feeling about it. We did suffer a lot during the Second World War though, so most of our history classes are about WW2.

Needless to say terrible things happen during the book, and it is awful to think those have really happened. The Dutch title is - translated - The White Feather, I now understand why. The writing style was, once more, very nice and once again John Boyne picked an episode from history to write a wonderful book to teach us about it. ( )
  Floratina | Jan 23, 2014 |
We had our full complement of twelve this month, so there were many voices with many opinions to get through. To start, there was a general consensus that the opening few chapters were a little slow and uneventful. At first, young Tristan’s plight found some empathy with us, but this was short lived. It was not long before the majority of us found him whiny, self- absorbed and intolerably needy.
Will on the other hand, although not necessarily likable, tested our favour with his views and actions to a point that had most of us veering from extreme dislike to affable tolerance. This we decided was a clear indication of good writing and although the subject of war is not one of our favourites, we found the stark subject matter realistically portrayed with a vivid intensity that was emotionally moving.
It was no surprise that our discussion moved towards the futility and horror of war, both then and now, and what it does to not only those involved but to our society as a whole.
But the underlying themes present; homosexuality, absolutism, suppression and redemption all played a large role in bringing this story to its close.

The comment was made that Boyne, as a modern writer, was not able to inject a sense of realism to something as potent as World War One. True or not, Boyne’s story is more likely to be read by a young generation, bringing with it greater knowledge of the tragic suffering and hopefully, a distain for war.
And that, in our view can’t be a bad thing. ( )
  DaptoLibrary | Nov 27, 2013 |
Sometimes a book has so many layers of secrets and truths the characters are scarcely able to face themselves that even summarizing it can take away some of the reader's pleasure in discovering them. As has lately been my habit, I didn't read a description of the plot beyond seeing it was about World War I, and I think it's probably the most rewarding way to read this one.

With that in mind, I'm going to say very little about the plot except: it's about two British soldiers who meet and become friends during training in World War I. It's also about the different faces of courage and cowardice, loyalty and jealousy, friendship and hatred. It will make you think - about war in general and World War I in particular; about camaraderie in the ranks and about the enemy as "other"; about the value of speaking your mind and the value of doing what you're expected to do. I had a hard time putting it down, and I also sometimes had a hard time turning the pages thanks to a feeling of dread at the inexorable forces at work.

I can't say I really came out of the experience fully liking anyone in the book, but they all felt real to me.

Recommended for: fans of Johnny Got His Gun, people who aren't holding out for a hero (I apologize, it got in my head too...), anyone who appreciates that nothing is ever black and white.

Quote: "I break with my orders for a moment and turn my box-periscope towards the sky, watching as the sudden bursts of electric sparks signify the dropping of bombs on the heads of German or English or French soldiers -- it scarcely matters who. The sooner everyone's killed, the sooner it's all over." ( )
  ursula | Aug 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
added by gsc55 | editMichael Joseph (Oct 21, 2013)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
For Con.
First words
Seated opposite me in the railway carriage, the elderly lady in the fox-fur shawl was recalling some of the murders that she had committed over the years.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
September 1919: twenty-one-year-old Tristan Sadler takes a train from London to Norwich to deliver some letters to Marian Bancroft. Tristan fought alongside Marian's brother Will during the Great War, but in 1917 Will laid down his guns on the Battlefield, declared himself a conscientious objector and was shot as a traitor, an act which has brought shame and dishonour on the Bancroft family.

But the letters are not the real reason for Tristan's visit. He holds a secret deep in his soul. One that he is desperate to unburden himself of to Marian, if he can only find the courage.

As he recalls his friendship with Will, from the training ground at Aldershot to the trenches of Northern France, he speaks of how the intensity of their friendship brought him both happiness and self-discovery as well as despair and pain.

The Absolutist is a novel that examines the events of the Great War from the perspective of two young soldiers, both struggling with the complexity of their emotions and the confusion of their friendship.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Tristan Sadler, a gay soldier, recalls his time spent fighting in World War I and the intensity of his friendship with Will Bancroft, a soldier who became a conscientious objector and was shot as a traitor.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
91 wanted
3 pay3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.02)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 1
2.5
3 20
3.5 14
4 45
4.5 16
5 26

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,503,773 books! | Top bar: Always visible