By the award-winning author of Burridge Unbound, a finalist for the Giller Prize
A Globe and Mail Notable Book of the Year
Highly praised as one of the best novels of the First World War, Alan Cumyn’s The Sojourn tells the story of a young Canadian soldier’s emotional journey through duty, fear, and love. From the front lines at Ypres to the seductive streets of London to memories of a West Coast childhood, we follow Ramsay Crome, a private with the 7th Canadian Pioneers who has volunteered against his father’s wishes. After a particularly horrible assault, Ramsay is granted a ten-day leave to London. It is here that he meets his cousin Margaret, a fervent objector to the war and the woman who will determine his fate in unexpected ways. As Ramsay tumbles into the suffocating embrace of family and the whirl of city life, he is forced to defend his honour and confront his own doubts and terror about the war, knowing that he must ultimately return to the Front. The Sojourn is a powerful yet intimate story about the passions of ordinary people caught in the tide of war.
Alan Cumyn’s books include Man of Bone (1998), winner of the Ottawa-Carleton Book Award (as it was then known) and a finalist for the Trillium Book Award in 1999; Burridge Unbound (2000), which won the Ottawa Book Award and was a finalist for The Giller Prize; Losing It (2001); and The Sojourn (2003). His children’s book The Secret Life of Owen Skye was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature (2002).
Alan Cumyn lives in Ottawa.
“A timeless novel of life during wartime… The Sojourn can be mentioned in the same company of such modern classics as The Wars, All Quiet on the Western Front, and The Thin Red Line.”
“Cumyn crafts unforgettable characters, ingenious plots and dazzling prose, all in a unique voice.… He is destined to be one of Canada’s greats.… The Sojourn is a multi-layered novel of terrible beauty.”
“Vivid and fascinating.… [A] viscerally evocative and psychologically acute portrayal, laced with dark humour and moments of lyricism, of men at war.”
“A virtuoso sonata of a First World War novel.”
“Cumyn’s achievement is significant. The Sojourn is intelligent, unsentimental, unflinching.”
–Literary Review of Canada
“Alan Cumyn is a deft, smooth writer.… Superb.… Very fine.”
–Globe and Mail
“A beautifully written novel.… Paced at breakneck speed, and covering only a few days in May, [The Sojourn] offers the whole war in miniature, showing – brilliantly – how the anvil of experience forged soldiers’ bonds.…”
“Vivid and convincing.… [A] literary page-turner.…”
–Quill & Quire
“[Cumyn’s achievement rests] with the power and eloquence of his prose.… The novel transcends topical relevance. It deals with universal themes of love and loss, loyalty and honour, vulnerability and sacrifice, pain and sorrow and the pity that is war.”
“Cumyn taps into a rich imaginative vein to bring his readers into the madness and fragmented experience of the trenches.”
“A compelling study of the madness of war.… Cumyn uses a trenchant eye for detail to take his readers to the war’s front.… A thought-provoking, worthwhile read.”
–Halifax Chronicle Herald