The Sojourn, a riveting novel about World War One snipers by Andrew Krivak. I just finished reading The Sojourn and will have a review at The Barnes and Noble Review in the near future. In the meantime, I can tell you it's a gritty, lyrical addition to classic combat fiction. I'd have no problem putting it on the same shelf as All Quiet on the Western Front and A Farewell to Arms. It's Krivak's first novel and he has penetrated the warrior's psyche to such a degree you can almost feel the callouses on your trigger finger. The Sojourn comes to us from Bellevue Literary Press, the same folks who published Paul Harding's Pulitzer-winning Tinkers, so that should give you some idea how good Krivak's novel is.
Here's the publisher's blurb, which only scratches the surface of the book's excellence:
Uprooted from a nineteenth-century mining town in Colorado by a shocking family tragedy, young Jozef Vinich returns with his father to an impoverished shepherd's life in rural Austria-Hungary. When war comes, Jozef is sent as a sharpshooter to the southern front, where he must survive the killing trenches, a perilous trek across the frozen Italian Alps, and capture by a victorious enemy.
Sebastian Smee of The Boston Globe had this to say about the novel:
"Surging in pace and momentum, The Sojourn is a deeply affecting narrative conjured by the rhythms of Krivak's superb and sinuous prose. Intimate and keenly observed, it is a war story, love story, and coming of age novel all rolled into one. I thought of Lermontov and Stendhal, Joseph Roth, and Cormac McCarthy as I read. But make no mistake. Krivak's voice and sense of drama are entirely his own."
If you'd like a chance at winning a copy of The Sojourn, all you have to do is answer this question (the answer to which can be found at the author's website):
Who was Krivak's inspiration for the novel?
Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line. One entry per person, please. Please e-mail me the answer, rather than posting it in the comments section. Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long. SPECIAL NOTE: This Friday Freebie will run for two weeks and will remain open to entries until midnight on May 26--at which time I'll draw the winning name. I'll announce the lucky reader on May 27.
Fans of the short story are in for a special treat next week (May 16-21) as The Quivering Pen honors National Short Story Month with daily giveaways. Visit the blog each day for contests and original essays contributed by the authors.