The Famished Lover by Alan CumynThe Famished Lover by Alan Cumyn

The Famished Lover

byAlan Cumyn

Hardcover | September 22, 2006

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In this much anticipated follow-up to The Sojourn, Alan Cumyn continues the story of Ramsay Crome, an artist who never quite came home from the First World War. The horrors of his years in a German prisoner of war camp continue to haunt him, as does the idealized memory of his long-lost sweetheart, his beautiful Margaret. It is those memories that literally save his life and keep him from a cold grave in a foreign land. Upon his return home to Montreal, Crome seeks the nourishment of body and soul, sometimes impulsively, after years of torture and deprivation. He meets Lillian, a farm girl from the Eastern Townships and is drawn to her youthful vigour, her innocence, and yes, her beauty. These prove to be a potent elixir and they marry quickly. By the time she is pregnant with their son, she wants nothing more than to escape the dreary poverty of their Depression-era existence and flee back to the farm with her husband and child. She wants him to love only her, to open up about his war experiences, explain the paintings she found of a nude Margaret. To her they are obscenities and provoke the bitter taste of jealousy.

The Famished Lover is Alan Cumyn's most mature and accomplished novel to date. It explores one man's hunger for love and meaning in a harsh, unforgiving world and the beautiful, yet corrosive, nature of longing.

Alan Cumyn is a master of strong fluid prose, startling humour in life's darkest moments, and characters compellingly human in their strengths and flaws. He is the author of six critically acclaimed novels, including Burridge Unbound, finalist for the Giller Prize, and The Sojourn, the novel in which Ramsay Crome first appears.
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Title:The Famished LoverFormat:HardcoverDimensions:310 pages, 8.85 × 5.88 × 0.95 inPublished:September 22, 2006Publisher:Goose Lane EditionsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0864924488

ISBN - 13:9780864924483

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartfelt and honest I was especially drawn into the senstivity and humility of the author's voice and the tender way he treated everyone involved (including himself). He laid bare the soul of a man who had the courage to face his mistakes, move beyond and love again..this time with deeper maturity and wisdom. This is a book for any married couple, but especially those who are trying to do it better the second time around.
Date published: 2009-03-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I read this twice This book will speak to anyone who is going through their own 'dark year' following a separation or divorce. Everyone has their own particular circumstances, but we all come out of the end of a relationshiop with guilt and questions. In this book there is some bleakness and some humour and sweetness as well.
Date published: 2009-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beacon in Dark Territory Philip Lee is to be applauded and thanked for having the courage to publicly reveal such personal details - including his own weaknesses and failings - so frankly and openly. He describes and explores the aftermath of his decision to leave his marriage honestly and recognizes and accepts responsibility for the turmoil and upset he caused his wife and their children. Anyone (or at least, any man) who has made the decision to leave a marriage which was not bringing them happiness and fulfillment will recognize their own feelings and emotions in (and in a sense may be comforted by) Lee’s descriptions: the guilt of being the one to make that decision in an effort to find a better life and arrangement; the sadness associated with leaving a situation which once held such hope (and usually was founded on love [or what seemed at the time to be love]); fear of the future and the results of the decision; and so on. Lee’s discussions of what it means to truly love another person, and the changed nature of family and marriage help us to understand in larger terms why so many modern unions do not last “till death” separates the partners. He makes good arguments for moving away from the concept of “failure” which is so frequently associated with the ending of a matrimonial union. Over the years individuals change, and it is simply a fact of modern life that it is now possible to end a marriage and allow the participants to move to a new phase of their lives. Ultimately, after his “dark year” and its aftermath, Lee found happiness in a new marriage and family situation. And despite his fears for - or more likely, due to his concerns for and his dedication to - his children, they appear to have grown into healthy, well-adjusted young adults of whom he (and his marital partners) can be proud. He gives all of us hope that our own children will recover from the upset which flows from the separation and divorce of their parents. Anyone who has been married is probably familiar with the various “how to” marriage books suggested by counselors, concerned parents, and others, but a book like Bittersweet - written by the survivor of the end of a marriage who provides such personal insights into his own shortcomings and experiences - carries much more weight than all of the manuals written by the “experts” in the field. This book should go on the “recommended reading” list for persons considering marriage so they will gain understanding as to the reality of modern matrimony, and see and learn from the kinds of mistakes and errors made by a real person living a real and - like the rest of us - a somewhat messy life. Philip Lee’s recounting of his experiences gives hope to the rest of us who are stumbling through the dark, trying to find our way without making an even bigger mess of things.
Date published: 2009-01-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best I've read in years! For anyone holding love and family as high values in their life, "Bittersweet" will move you profoundly. I find it is very rare that an author is able to tell an autobiographic tale with the level of candor, intimacy, insight, and humor with which Lee tells his story... An absolute delight to read. Lee has a unique journalistic writing style - he keeps things so simple, and easy to read, but at the same time, the reader knows they're not sifting through fluff. This is high quality prose - elegant and pure. Lee paints a picture of Canada's east coast no reader will soon forget, and all the while, his story takes us all across North America, even abroad to China and Greece... beautiful imagery throughout. True wisdom laces every page of this book, and never a drop of ego or over-self-reflection... To Philip Lee, if you're reading this, Bravo. To potential readers, buying this book is a decision you will not regret.
Date published: 2009-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well thought, well delivered, well written -- a book about the human experience I was initially surprised how connected I became to this story after the first few pages, having never been married once, let alone twice. But soon enough I 'got it.' True, this is a book about picking yourself up after a failed marriage. As such I think anybody who's been through such an experience would find themselves nodding their heads plenty of times while reading this book. But to those who've never been through such an experience (such as myself) this is really a story about second chances, forgiving others, forgiving yourself, making things right, making up for what might have been wrong, and just being able to survive. It's a story about life and all of life's threads that make us the same. It’s a story about the human experience. More than that, it’s a well thought out, well delivered and well written story. The book’s honesty is its foundation and coupled with honest reflection from the author, one of its main strengths. This is a story anybody could read and manage to take something away from, either married, divorced, single, young or old.
Date published: 2009-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Strong Read The opportunity to see inside an individual laying his soul bare had a rollercoaster effect on me. Having gone through numerous similar circumstances, Mr. Lee's fluid style and elegant writing made the book such an easy read, an easy read if you don't mind sharing someone's pain and trials and tribulations when it comes to the end of a marital bond. Trying to start anew is not easy, but the reader is taken on a journey of starting over, dealing with guilt, anxiety and pathos for both sides of the end of a relationship. Despite some dark days, the author still managed to find strains of smiles, togetherness and some 'I've been there,' moments of starting over. The brilliance of sharing stories with his brother is the perfect sidelight. Thoroughly enjoyed Mr. Lee's journey. Many of us who have shared his story will certainly agree.
Date published: 2009-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from CANADIAN W W 1 SEE ALSO SOJOURN...READ IT FIRST THEN THIS.
Date published: 2007-11-25

Editorial Reviews

In this much anticipated follow-up to The Sojourn, Alan Cumyn continues the story of Ramsay Crome, an artist who never quite came home from the First World War. The horrors of his years in a German prisoner of war camp continue to haunt him, as does the idealized memory of his long-lost sweetheart, his beautiful Margaret. It is those memories that literally save his life and keep him from a cold grave in a foreign land. Upon his return home to Montreal, Crome seeks the nourishment of body and soul, sometimes impulsively, after years of torture and deprivation. He meets Lillian, a farm girl from the Eastern Townships and is drawn to her youthful vigour, her innocence, and yes, her beauty. These prove to be a potent elixir and they marry quickly. By the time she is pregnant with their son, she wants nothing more than to escape the dreary poverty of their Depression-era existence and flee back to the farm with her husband and child. She wants him to love only her, to open up about his war experiences, explain the paintings she found of a nude Margaret. To her they are obscenities and provoke the bitter taste of jealousy. The Famished Lover is Alan Cumyn's most mature and accomplished novel to date. It explores one man's hunger for love and meaning in a harsh, unforgiving world and the beautiful, yet corrosive, nature of longing."An insidiously good writer, one who seems to pull finely pitched sentences from clear air." — George Elliott Clarke