Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

"& after this our exile" 2008 new novel based on 1934 Ca


John Gilinsky
 Share

Recommended Posts

NEW Canadian Toronto based author (works for CBC RADIO) novel on the Canadian Corps reunion of August 1934 held in Toronto:

McBurney, Ward

"& after this our exile." Toronto: 308 pages (softcover)

ISBN: 978 - 90684 5913 3

A Different Drummer Books an Independent Bookstore located in Burlington,Ontario sells this book for $22.00 Canadian net.

They do have a web site.

John

Toronto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

NEW Canadian Toronto based author (works for CBC RADIO) novel on the Canadian Corps reunion of August 1934 held in Toronto:

McBurney, Ward

"& after this our exile." Toronto: 308 pages (softcover)

ISBN: 978 - 90684 5913 3

A Different Drummer Books an Independent Bookstore located in Burlington,Ontario sells this book for $22.00 Canadian net.

They do have a web site.

John

Toronto

Very good of you to post on this, John.

I believe the folks at A Different Drummer are selling the novel for $25; it's $22 from Lulu but then there are shipping costs. There is a blog for the book:

http://ampersand108.blogspot.com/

The Lulu order page is:

http://www.lulu.com/content/2343767

Although I broadcast over 60 radio stories I do not work for the CBC; I am retired, as it were, by early onset Parkinson's Disease, and write full-time at home. A follow-up novel is in work.

Thanks again for posting on this.

All best,

Ward

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The book is a synthesis of three things: the collective voices of Canadians via first-person narratives and battalion and regimental histories of the war; the recreation of Toronto as both a Depression-era city and an Imperial centre during the war itself; and the poetic evocation of one soldier's war.

The narrative advances by bounds, back and forth in time and place, as the 1934 Reunion of the Canadian Corps unrolls over the long August weekend. The men were billeted, for the most part, in or around the Horse Palace, a 1932 Art Deco addition to the Exhibition grounds, but Toronto entire was pretty much their preserve for several days.

The protagonist, Stan Allward, belongs to the 108th (Toronto Typographic) Battalion; he is also head of the battalion theatrical troupe, or Concert Party. The success of the concert parties in the Canadian Corps is well-attested; the battalion, however, is a fiction, based on the not entirely outlandish conceit that the typesetters of Toronto were wooed to enlist as a body, and, unlike the targets of most other enlistment ploys, served together at the front.

Canadian historians will note that 108 was in fact assigned, but that no service battalion bore the number. Other characters include Lieutenant Jenny Gray, a Nursing Sister from Paris, Ontario; CSM Art Cane; Private William Ostic, a Lewis gunner; Sapphira Allward, Stan's kid sister, and also appearances by the actual Padre of the 1st Cdn. Division, Canon Scott. The 108th's Colonel is, somewhat allegorically, named Leading (pronounced leding, not leeding). Stan's best friend, John Herald, transfers into the 108th from the (actual) 44th Battalion.

There is a fair amount of both period and recreated verse, song, and theatrics in the book; the "lower cases" -- or battalion Concert Party -- put on a show beneath the Bathurst Street Bridge during the reunion, and throughout the war. Ostic and Cane, in particular, appear as Pickelhaube und Stahlhelm -- "the Punch and Judy of Prussian Duty". The unit also has a fictive patron, Princess Adelaide, who appears from time to time.

Being typesetters, the men of the 108th tend to spell the 8 with an ampersand. Thus, the "and after this" of T.S. Eliot's poem is spelt "& after this our exile" -- but the ampersand plays a bigger role than that. It figures large in battalion lore and tradition -- for example, one of the verses of Mademoiselle of Armentieres sung by the Typos (unit slang for the men) on the march is:

We are the And the And the And

We are the boys from Ampersand

Hinky Dinky Parlez Vous!

The work, as a whole, is utterly unique; but the experiences within reflect those of the actual men and women of the Canadian Corps, who left us so eloquent and extensive a testimony, in the years after the conflict. A bibliography is appended to the text. Not only Canadian sources were used. Prominent among the many volumes I consulted are:

Ghosts Have Warm Hands, by Will Bird

Only This, by James Pedley (he also has a cameo in the book)

The Great War as I Saw It, by Canon Scott

Six Thousand Canadian Men, the 44th Battn. history

the 48th Highlanders of Canada (15th Battn.) history, by Beattie

Both Nicholson and Sweetenham on the war as a whole (I also have the 2 volumes of the incomplete official history)

Undertones of War, by the incomparable Edmund Blunden (an Imperial officer)

Lastly, the book was, somewhat appropriately, typeset by the author, and thus includes extensive marginalia in lieu of a glossary or notes at the back. The marginalia grew from a simple definition of terms, into an extended meditation on passages from consulted works that throw light on the passages they parallel. The narrative, however, was written without them, and old hands will find them unnecessary. The text does not need them either to flow or make sense.

That's about it; sorry for going on, but I felt members of this forum might want to know more than the price and availability.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your welcome from a fellow Torontonian! Good to see the ole boys slugging it out with the HUNS! :D

I hope you market your novel even more aggresively (always needed in the big continent dominated by great works of fiction put out by HOLLYWOOD!).

Best wishes,

John

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...