The Sojourn

Bellevue Literary. May 2011. c.192p. ISBN 9781934137345. pap. $14.95. F
When a family tragedy strikes in a Colorado mining town, young Jozef Vinich and his father return to pre-World War I Austria. Together they live in poverty, working as shepherds and hunting to support themselves. When Jozef's cousin Zlee joins them, a strong bond grows between the two young men. Despite the pastoral setting, Jozef grows increasingly discontent with his rural lifestyle. Eventually Jozef and Zlee join other Austrian men on the Italian front. They not only confront the horrors of combat but also contribute to those horrors through their skill as expert marksmen. This is Krivak's first novel; his earlier work, A Long Retreat: In Search of a Religious Life, is a memoir about his experience in a Jesuit formation program.
VERDICT An unsentimental yet elegant look at a character's coming-of-age as well as his survival of the Great War's brutality. With ease, it joins the ranks of other significant works of fiction portraying World War I—Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front or Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.
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