The Absolutist

Hardback edition released 19/02/2011

by John Boyne

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Books of the Month Historical Fiction eBooks of the Month Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of The Absolutist

May 2011 Book of the Month.


Featured on The Book Show on Sky Arts on 9 June 2011.

From the hugely successful author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes The Absolutist, a novel that examines the events of the Great War from the perspective of two young privates, one of them who declared himself a conscientious objector but both struggling with the complexity of their emotions and the confusion of their friendship.




John Boyne's backlist titles have been reissued to coincide with the publication of The AbsolutistClick here to view all his titles. 


The Absolutist Synopsis

It's September 1919: 20 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 they stroll through the streets of a city still coming to terms with the end of the war, he recalls his friendship with Will, from the training ground at Aldershot to the trenches of Northern France, and speaks of how the intensity of their friendship brought him from brief moments of happiness and self-discovery to long periods of despair and pain.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780385616041
Publication date: 19th February 2011
Author: John Boyne
Publisher: Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd
Format: Hardback
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
Other Genres:
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John Boyne Press Reviews

'A wonderful, sad, tender book. There are some amazing things about this novel – one is the simplicity and purity of the narrative line; another is the sort of complexity within the characters and the emotions and the motives; another is the sense of the period, with all its restrictions. The book is going to have an enormous impact on everyone who reads it.'  Colm Toibin

'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.  The Absolutist is an important work because although it is set mostly in the past the dilemma it explores – how is one to be good in the midst of catastrophe – is completely contemporary.' Carlo Gebler, author of A Good Day For A Dog and Father & I


'Powerful, poignant and beautifully written. This will become a classic war novel.' The Bookseller

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780552775403
Publication date: 05/07/2012
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780385616041
Publication date: 19/02/2011
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About John Boyne

John Boyne was our Guest Editor in May 2010 - click here - to see the books that inspired his writing.   John Boyne was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1971, and studied English Literature at Trinity College, Dublin, and creative writing at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, where he was awarded the Curtis Brown prize. His early writing consisted mostly of short stories and he published a number of them. His first story, The Entertainments Jar, was shortlisted for the Hennessy Literary Award in Ireland. In total, he has published about 70 short stories. He has published seven novels: THE THIEF ...

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