The Cartographer of No Man's Land
A NovelBook - 2013
From a hardscrabble fishing village in Nova Scotia to the collapsing trenches of France, an astonishing debut novel about family divided by the great war.
Nova Scotia, 1916. Angus MacGrath, a skilled sailor and navigator, is lost—caught between a remote wife, a disapproving father, and a son seeking guidance. An ocean away from his coastal village, missing is Ebbin Hant, Angus's adventurous brother-in-law and best friend. Ebbin's unknown fate sets angus on an uncharted course with profound consequences for those he loves and those he comes to love.
In search of his own purpose and hoping against all odds to find Ebbin, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing and enlists. Assured a safe job as a military cartographer in London, he is instead assigned to the infantry and sent to the blood-soaked mud of the front-line trenches in France, where he begins his search.
At home his young son, Simon Peter, once wide-eyed about the war—clipping stories and sneaking propaganda—must navigate uncertain loyalties ina village succumbing to war fever. Separated by the ocean they once sailed together, Angus and Simon Peter search for what it takes to survive, each trying in his own way to return to the other. Every character in this exquisitely told story seeks to protect what matters most in the face of war's upheaval.
Drawing on extensive research and years of sailing in Nova Scotia, and inspired by the silent testament of sacrifice in the battlefield cemeteries of France, P. S. Duffy brings us a breathtaking work of historical fiction, epic in scope but intimately rendered. The Cartographer of No Man's Land is a novel about the immutable thirst for meaning in a shifting, uncertain landscape.
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When his beloved brother-in-law Ebben goes missing in the “Great War”, Angus MacGrath puts aside his pacifist upbringing in a small fishing village in Nova Scotia and joins the army to search for him. Instead of becoming a cartographer working from London, Angus is thrust into the trenches in France. Back home, those who are left waiting are subjected to tension and hostility. As the 100th anniversary of this terrible war is observed, this book is worth reading as the author beautifully explores the circles of hell opened up by war, both on the battlefield and at home.
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