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The Absolutist Hardcover – 12 May 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 12 May 2011
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 038561604X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385616041
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 543,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"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)

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

"Compulsive, stylish and gripping" (Reader's Digest)

"A wonderful, sad, tender book." (Colm Toibin)

"John Boyne brings a completely fresh eye to the most important stories. He guides us through the realm of history and makes the journey substantial, poignant and real. He is one of the great craftsmen in contemporary literature." (Colum McCann)

Book Description

The dazzling new novel from the bestselling author of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
After reading other reviews on this book,my viewpoint is not going to go down well....

I've read three other books by John Boyne (' .... Striped Pyjamas'; ' ... Bounty'; '...Special Purpose') and really enjoyed them. The Absolutist was very disappointing. One other reviewer has already alluded to the use of the modern idiom. I too found this frustrating and point out expressions completely out of context with the time " ... We were an item."; " Keep it together". There are many others, one of them being the repeated use of the word 'foxhole' when Boyne means 'dugout'. According to Merrion Webster (Encyclopaedia Britannica) the word foxhole wasn't coined until 1919. If the 'voice' of the narrator and other characters, plus the contextual setting, is not believable then the credibility of the book begins to crumble.

However, the use of modern idiom pales beside the sloppy research. Sergeant Clayton seems to be in command of the whole regiment (Boyne means battalion as regiment is titular and in the first world war, a regiment could comprise as many as twenty battalions.The only officer referred to is General Fielding, whom Bancroft says he will approach regarding the murder of the German soldier. This just couldn't happen. There are at least nine ranks between sergeant and the lowest rank of general and complaints are only forwarded initially to the next rank up. Where was the company commander ( a captain or major) and the lieutenants. Also, when Saddler is sent back for medical treatment. Sergeant Clayton overrules the doctor's decision concluding with the doctor saying to Clayton "Understood, Sir." All army doctors are officers who wouldn't defer to a mere sergeant and would never call a lower rank 'Sir'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me. Previously the only book I have read from this author is The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which was very good. My understanding was, correctly, that this was a book for adults rather than young adults and was surprised at the very large font in the version I read.
World War One and its effects on the individuals involved is a topic returned to regularly in fiction. Here we see Tristan Sadler going to visit the sister of a fallen comrade in 1919. The visit brings his memories to the surface and he relives the emotions encountered while in France during the war.
Tristan's character is sensitively developed. He is tormented by his experiences and torn between what is right and what is wrong. Visiting Marian serves as a vehicle for him (and her) to consider their feelings about what happened.
The trenches are described in great detail and the atmosphere is very vivid. The book is compared to Birdsong which I was by sceptical about but, having read the book, I think is fair. Here the story is slimmed down to only two views - the trenches and the visit the following year which intensifies the emotions.
It is a difficult challenge going over such a well trodden subject and there is little in here which has not bee covered before. However, John Boyne explores his subject so tenderly that this book cannot fail to be a worthwhile read to anyone interested in the human side of World War One.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Having read and loved 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas' a couple of years ago and being out of ideas for any new books to read, I walked in the book store a couple of weeks ago and decided to just grab a book by John Boyne. And to be honest, I have never been this happy with such an uninformed decision. Keep in mind though that this book shouldn't be compared to 'The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas'. They are both set during war, but the story is of another kind and it's told in a completely different way. But just like that earlier book, I barely managed to set it aside to attend to other matters.

The story is written in a style that is enjoyable: the story is told by the 21-year old protagonist, in such a way that you immediately feel a connection with him, even though it's mostly out of pity. There are four distinctive time lines in the book: when Tristan was a young adult; when he had just joined the army; shortly after the 1st World War; and the 'present'; scrambled within the book to obtain a story of perfect order.

The story itself is very intriguing, mostly because the main storyline deals with certain aspects that aren't regularly discussed when talking about war. I would love to elaborate on this, but it would most likely spoil the experience of reading the book yourself. And if that part of the plot isn't enough to keep you glued to this book, then you should know that writing about the 1st World War gives the author the opportunity to talk about certain details (the trainingcamps, life in the trenches,...) of that tragic occurrence, and he does this so skillfully and vivid, that it's hard not to feel very emotional while reading those passages. In short the story can best be described as a combination of Mystery, Drama and Romance.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of John Boyne's writing for some time and this book definitely did not disappoint! It was well written and was a real page turner right to the end. Touching at times and dramatic at others - this book has conveyed the story of 2 men in the midst of WW1 struggling to survive and cope with the help of each other. Beautifully written!
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