Sunday, May 15

Book Review: The Sojourn

Title: The Sojourn

Author: Andrew Krivak

Pages: 191

Summary: Inspired by the author’s own family history, The Sojourn is the story of Jozef Vinich, who was uprooted from a 19th-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy to return with his father to an impoverished shepherd’s life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef joins his cousin and brother-in-arms as a sharpshooter on the southern front, where he must survive a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps and capture by a victorious enemy.

As poetic as Cold Mountain and The English Patient, this novel evokes a time when Czechs, Slovaks, Austrians, and Germans fought on the same side while divided by language, ethnicity, and social class in the most brutal war to date. It is also a poignant tale of fathers and sons, addressing the great immigration to America and the desire to live the American dream amid the unfolding tragedy in Europe.

My Rating: 8.75/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: This was a well written, story, about a young boy who the reader sees grow up from boyhood, to a young sharpshooter in the First World War. The author did a phenomenal job at writing the story and pulling the reader in, from the shocking prologue of the book, to growing up in the mountains, learning to hunt and survive, and the battles between the Austrian-Hungarians and the Italians, the author debut novel is an excellent example of a World War One story.

For such a short novel, the book has multiple layers, starting out as a coming of age story, as the reader watches the character Jozef grow from a young boy into adulthood, and how the people around him. The friendship between Zlee and Jozef was beautifully written, as they grow up together learning from Jozef’s father, to fighting side by side in the trenches. The author has done a fantastic job, at creating believable and concrete characters, especially in such a short novel. The author also brings the reader into trenches of the First World War, a different perspective than what I’ve normally read, but his quality of writing on the war was well done.

I would have liked more of the book to have been during the first world war, perhaps even long book to do this, it still worked well being short novel, but I would have liked to see a bit of a longer in some aspects of it. I enjoyed how it was broken down into three sections, before the war, during the war, and after the war, which included his capture by Italian soldiers, but I was left with wanting more.

Overall, it was lovely coming-of-age story, during the First World War.

Would I recommend it to read: I would. It's a strong coming of age story, and war story. The writing quality is up there with Hemingway and other writers of the like. He doesn't over describe things, but still tells a beautiful story, I was reminded slightly of Hemingway at times.

What to read next: The Wars, All Quiet on the Western Front, Farewell to Arms

Challenges: 11 in 11, 100+ Challenge, 2011 Countdown Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Historical Fiction, New Author Challenge

This was a LibraryThing Early Reviewer Book.

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