The novel, epic.
The writing, refreshing and compelling.
The characters, real and relatable.
Perhaps this is not what you’d expect from a story set in Europe as The Great War dawns.
At the heart of Carry Me is a common driver: relationships and how conflict touches their lives on a most intimate level. It is a diary of sorts. The setting of the novel begins on the Isle Of Wight, off the south coast of England, in the years before the First World War. Billy Lange’s father is the skipper of a racing yacht belonging to a wealthy German-Jewish baron. The baron has a daughter, Karin von Weinbrenner. As a child, Billy is entranced by Karin, and their bond strengthens years later when they are reunited on the baron’s Frankfurt estate, with mutual like and a common love for Wild West novels of Karl May.
Friendship transpires into love, and this complex love affair has extraordinary high states. As their relationship deepens, the forces outside their control also start to weigh in on decisions. On the way, there are arrests and interrogations, peaks and valleys, escapes and family sagas; in short, everything one would expect from a novel of epic proportions.
The story telling follows an unconventional structure replete with clippings of letters and transcripts. This adds to the credibility of the story line and our investment in the characters. The love story is unusual but framed in realism worth of a detailed period piece; Peter Behrens thorough research is evidenced throughout. The writing is beautiful and epic in it proportions, deftly capturing a time of violence and perseverance in the path of adversity.
Peter Behrens is a Canadian novelist, screenwriter and short story writer. His debut novel, The Law of Dreams, won the 2006 Governor General’s Award for English fiction.
Carry Me is published by House Of Anansi.