soldierís emotional journey through duty, fear, and love during the war
that was to end all wars . . .
The Sojourn is the story of Ramsay Crome, a young Canadian soldier posted to the front lines at Ypres. Told with crisp historical detail and emotionally riveting prose, The Sojourn follows Ramsayís awakening consciousness as he endures both the horrors of the front, and the bewildering freedom of leave. Set in Canada, Belgium, and London, England, the novelís vivid scenes of the trenches of the Ypres Salient are thrown into relief by scenes of comfort and levity in London and by the memories of a distant but influential father in childhood Canada. Alan Cumyn, a writer of enormous range and talent, takes us on a journey deep into the complex passions of ordinary people at a time when honour and duty are juxtaposed against death and disillusionment, when even the sweetness and confusion of new-found love and the defiance of a father must come second to the call of the greater good.
Cumyn masterfully blends stunning descriptive passages with insight into the human condition. He has written a story that is not only an immediate and intimate portrait of WWI, but also a commentary on the enduring, destructive nature of modern warfare. This is Alan Cumynís most accomplished novel to date.
"Ypres, Somme, Cambrai: the names are enough to tell you what happens to these soldiers, yet this is not a depressing book. It is bursting with goodness and love and decency.... The Sojourn is not a blockbuster. It has no linguistic pyrotechnics, no outrageous characters, no bizarre plot devices. What it has is solid research, excellent writing and a deep-seated passion for the exploration of an individual's moral development."-- Robin McGrath, The St. John's Telegram "When I was young, draftable and uncertain about participating in my country's latest war, I read Erich Marie Remarque's antiwar novel All Quiet on the Western Front. It made all the difference. The Sojourn is just such a book, a testament to the truth that 'there are no sides at all, that we're fighting ourselves, that the corpse that comes with victory will be our own'." -- Andrew Armitage, Owen Sound Sun Times "Cumyn's achievement is significant. The Sojourn is intelligent, unsentimental, unflinching. Among Canada's best war novels, beside High MacLennan's Barometer Rising, Timothy Findlay's The Wars, Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient and Kevin Major's underrated No Man's Land, The Sojourn can take its place." -- Val Ross, Literary Review of Canada
Return to Alan Cumyn's Homepage.