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The Sojourn

by Andrew Krivak

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3353260,617 (3.82)73
Uprooted from a nineteenth century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, young Jozef Vinich returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd's life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy.… (more)
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» See also 73 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Jozef Ondrej Vinich, born in Pueblo, Colorado in in 1899, is taken by his father to Austria-Hungary as an infant after his mother dies. His shepherd father teaches Jozef to hunt, stalk, observe and shoot. He and Klee, another boy basically raised by his father as brothers, join the Army during WWI and are trained as snipers. Klee is killed and the remainder of Jozef’s war is pure hardship. He is captured and interned in Sicily as a prisoner of war.

After he’s released Jozef returns home after a long and arduous trip. His father has died but has stashed some gold in a cave for him. Jozef returns to America, wondering “what would await me there in the country in which I was born but had never belonged.”

This is a beautifully written book with the feel of one that will continue to grow in repute. ( )
1 vote Hagelstein | Jun 2, 2021 |
One of the reviewers on the book jacket described The Sojourn as a “a war story, a love story, and coming of age novel all rolled into one.” I can’t improve on that.

The narrator, Josef Vinich endures extreme hardships from weather, terrain, the enemy, and his superiors that are conveyed powerfully with stark, clean writing. This is an incredible debut novel.
( )
  LenJoy | Mar 14, 2021 |
This novel is so understated that it could easily be overlooked. The fascinating part of it for me is the brilliant use of language to perfectly reflect the persona and experience of the protagonist, Jozef. What the heck do I mean? Jozef moves from the United States to his parents' native Yugoslavia with his father after his mother dies tragically. Father and son are astute, powerfully strong, men of few words and who rarely express emotion openly. The language of the novel is stark and simple, except when intense emotion erupts at which point the prose reflects the feelings beautifully. I know, I know......was it a good story? Yes, very. There are several powerfully developed characters as well. Set during WWI, Jozef becomes a sniper along with his adopted brother, Zlee. You will have to read it to find out the rest!
  hemlokgang | Aug 28, 2019 |
Jozef returns to Austria-Hungary with his father after a tragedy strikes the family. It was not an easy life and circumstances seemed to conspire to make everything his does subject to violence and mayhem. When he enlists and becomes a sharpshooter in the war, the violence intensifies. This is not a feel good, fighting for a good cause type of book, but is decent enough for historical fiction. ( )
  bemislibrary | May 25, 2019 |
Very nice ( )
  ibkennedy | Sep 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
... Andrew Krivak, nominated for a National Book Award for The Sojourn, has created a gripping and harrowing war story that has the feel of a classic. Jozef evolves convincingly from an eager young soldier indifferent to the lives he takes, to a wreck of a man who fully understands all that has been lost in the endless fighting. Like all classic war stories, this one can't help but make you wonder about the futility of war and the devastation it leaves in its path...
added by Jcambridge | editNPR, Lynn Neary (Jan 1, 2012)
 
“Charged with emotion and longing . . . this lean, resonant debut [is] an undeniably powerful accomplishment.”
added by blpbooks | editPublishers Weekly (starred review)
 
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. . . That was how things were back then. Anything that grew took its time growing, and anything that perished took a long time to be forgotten. But everything that had once existed left its traces, and people lived on memories just as they now live on the ability to forget quickly and emphatically. —Joseph Roth, The Radetzky March
It's difficult with the weight of the rifle.
Leave it — under the oak.
—David Jones, In Parenthesis
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For Irene
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She rises before sunup without waking her husband or the child still asleep in the Moses basket at their bedside and walks through the dark of the small shack into the kitchen.
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p.144
After a time, I asked, “What is left to be afraid of?’
And he said, “the possibility that a life itself may prove to be the most worthy struggle. Not the whole sweeping vale of tears that Rome and her priests want us to sacrifice ourselves to daily so that she lives in splendor, but one single moment in which we die so that someone else lives. That ls it, and it is fearful because it cannot be seen, planned, or even known. It is simply lived. If there be purpose, it happens of a moment within us, and lasts a lifetime without us, like water opening and closing in a wake.
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Uprooted from a nineteenth century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, young Jozef Vinich returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd's life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy.

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Inspired by the author’s own family history, The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy to return with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef joins his cousin and brother-in-arms as a sharpshooter on the southern front, where he must survive a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy. 
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