Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak is a new novel, which was just nominated as a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.  Published earlier this year, Krivak's novel slipped under the radar screen and rightfully was rescued from oblivion by the nomination.  It is terse, painful and dramatic novel, which you will be able to read in a sitting or two.

The novel follows the life of Jozef Vinich.  Born in Pueblo, Colorado in the late eighteen hundreds to immigrant parents, Jozef's life is forever changed by a horrific family tragedy.  Jozef is taken back to rural Austria-Hungary by his father, where his father raises him and a distant cousin.  The cousin and Jozef grow up together, tending the father's sheep herd and learning to hunt, hide and shoot from the father.  In 1916, the boys join the army and become elite sharpshooters.  They live in the trenches, hunt the enemy and try desperately to survive.  As the war closes, Jozef tries to find his way back to the life that was and forges new relationships on the way.

The book is powerful, well written and well executed.  To quote one critic, "it is a war story, love story, and coming of age novel all rolled into one."  It is worth reading.

The publisher, Bellevue Literary Press, is the same small press that put out Paul Harding's Tinkers, which was the surprising winner of the Pulitzer two years ago.

The author's website here.  An interview with the author here.

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