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The Absolutist Book Recommendation & Review (One of the Best I've Read This Year!)

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Hey, I figured I'd post here for the first time because I loved this book so much.


This book is absolutely amazing. I had to take a break from reading it to recommend it to you all. John Boyne is a famous author in his own right for works like The Boy in Stripped Pyjamas but I didn't know that several of his stories feature gay protagonists and are romantic.

Its very likely that several of you have already read this wonderful book considering how famous and successful Boyne is but if you haven't, you owe yourself the opportunity to be taken in by the characters and places that it takes you.

It is a very sad story about a World War One veteran who fell in love with another boy named Will, whom he served with. It is now 1919 in the story and something has gone very, very wrong for our protagonist Tristan. He is alone and the love of his life is dead.

Tristan promised Will that after the war was over he would deliver letters that Will had received from his sister who lives in Norfolk. So the story draws us in with this central premise of confronting Tristan's grief and guilt over the death of Will. Early on in the novel an old man in a pub tells Tristan that it is obvious he is filled with guilt and that he hates himself. Why?

The mystery is worth reading and makes a very compelling drama.

The characters sucked me in immediately and seemed immensely believable. Tristan is funny and relatable. He likes to imagine the backstories of strangers that he meets in his head, imagining all kinds of details about them based upon his initial impression. Will is great too with how contemplative and dour he can be while also being optimistic and brash.

You're just left wishing that things were different for Tristan and Will, but it isn't really a story about happily ever after.

If you have recommend books that are similar, I'd love to hear recommendations. The caliber of writing that Boyne brings to the narrative is the top of his field in my opinion.

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Ending Discussion


I'll have more to say about this tomorrow after I think on it some more but Will is an absolute bastard for inflicting that emotional abuse on Tristan. My initial reaction is not favorable to Will although maybe Will didn't mean it and was just a scared boy lashing out at the only person he could. The relationship was toxic and abusive. Poor Tristan.


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We knew going in it would be sad but I was struck by the lack of closure for poor Tristan. I'm going to devour analysis of this story wherever I can find it because there is a lot to think about.

On the surface I am left believing that Will is a terrible person for inflicting that level of emotional trauma on Tristan.

You're left wondering though, maybe Will didn't mean it. Will was scared that he was going to die and inflicting pain on someone who he believed had betrayed him. If Tristan was less of a coward then Will would be alive.

Though in almost a cosmic joke it can be seen that Will did all of it to punish Tristan for not reporting the war crime and backing him up.

But then there are the small abuses where Will told Tristan to fuck off and coldly neglected him on the front after they had sex.

I want to like Will. The whole novel builds him up on the same pedestal that Tristan clearly holds him, a near deification from Tristan. But he's a BULLY in the end right before he dies and throughout their time together. He tells Tristan to fuck off after taking what he wanted from him and inflicts emotional abuse that destroys Tristan in the end.

Will definitely is not worthy of the pedestal that Tristan holds him on. I can also see Will's point of view re: Tristan. Tristan is a coward, someone who lets a defenseless child get murdered rather than stand up to authority. Someone who is kicked his whole life and just accepts it.

Tristan is unreliable in how he confuses love and lust as well. He believed he was in love with Peter when he wasn't.

What an incredible book. So much to think about involving these characters. I wish that we had gotten closure, I wish that Tristan had gotten closure instead of unresolved questions.

I had hoped for one more interaction, a secret letter apologizing for it all or something like that. Which interestingly is almost certainly how Tristan felt. It is a very real emotion that is evoked through the story. Lack of closure is a reality of life and doesn't that suck.

Absolutely Incredible


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