Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of Robert Goolrick's and Karl Marlantes's , P. S. Duffy's astonishing debut showcases a rare and instinctive talent emerging in midlife. Her novel leaps across the Atlantic, between a father at war and a son coming of age at home without him. When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of and the epic scope of , offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.
"Duffy's first novel explores the circles of hell opened up by war, both on the actual war front and at home. Angus MacGrath leaves his beloved Nova Scotia to enlist in WWI and find his missing brother-in-law, Ebbin, defying Angus's pacifist father. A sailor with a deft hand for sketching and painting, Angus expects to serve as a cartographer in London, but instead is sent to the front lines in France as an officer. Facing the possibility of his own death and witnessing the deaths of the men around him daily, he changes in ways he couldn't have imagined. At home, his 13-year-old son, Simon Peter, deals with his own revelations about loyalty, prejudice, and connection. The novel takes a series of surprising plot turns, sometimes leaving the reader wondering how much actually happened and how much was imagined by the characters to protect themselves from horrific realities. Physical and emotional geography are beautifully rendered, and Duffy's vivid descriptions illuminate war's transformative effect in fresh ways. Well-nuanced characters and carefully choreographed (but still surprising) situations make this a strong debut. Agent: Julie Barer, Barer Literary." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From a hardscrabble village in Nova Scotia to the collapsing trenches of France, a debut novel about a family divided by World War I.
About the Author
P. S. Duffy traces her Nova Scotian roots back over 250 years. She herself sailed in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, for thirty summers. She now lives with her husband in Rochester, Minnesota. This is her first novel.