CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Payerle, George.

Toronto, Macmillan, 1987. 334pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-7715-9490-9. CIP

Reviewed by Mollie Hooper

Volume 16 Number 2
1988 March

Unknown Soldier by George Payerle brings home to us in no uncertain terms something too many of us have forgotten: what becomes of the men who fought our wars when the wars are over? It is a concept of war as yet barely touched by other writers.

The hero of Unknown Soldier, Sam Collister, went to war when he was nineteen and returned to Canada six years later with an English bride and a haunting, indelible memory of horror-pain, rage, bitterness, and recurring nightmares of his best friend's death on the battle field. He cannot accept what seems to him an uncaring peace-time society. Long estranged from wife and son, he lives a hand-to-mouth existence in Victoria. He takes refuge in alcohol and talk with the few veterans who share his anguished memories.

Although a story of war, cruelty, killing and despair, it is also an old-fashioned romance with a believable happy ending. In fact, the whole book is realistic in setting, characters, and language. Payerle's style has a lyrical flow that carries the reader easily through the undercurrents of meaning, which are uncompromising and often brutal, but are ultimately an impassioned plea for an end to all war.

This book is very attractively bound and jacketed. The print is readable on good quality paper—altogether a good buy at its current price.

Mollie Hooper, Qualicum Beach, B.C.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works