Shifting across three continents, The Deserters explores themes of trust, isolation, abandonment, and emotional disconnection in a world dramatically altered by the experience of war.
Eugenie is trying--and mostly failing--to restore an inherited old farm in New Brunswick while her husband, a master carpenter, is away in Spain. The work involved overwhelms her, so she hires Dean to help bring the farm back to working order. The only problem is that Dean is a deserter from the US Army suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and he happens to be living deep in the backwoods of her property, where he's hiding out from immigration officials. To complicate matters further, Eugenie and Dean fall into a relationship, even as he is tormented by flashbacks, nightmares, and flickering memories of his wartime experiences in Iraq.