heart held captive, a world on the edge of war . . .
the Famished Lover
critically acclaimed author Alan
created Ramsay Crome, an artist who never quite comes home from the
First World War. Burning with an intense appetite for beauty, for human
contact, for life and love, Ramsay stumbles into a troubled marriage
just as the gears of history are aligning for depression and more war.
In a moment of optimism Ramsay marries Lillian, a beautiful farm girl
from the Eastern Townships south of Montreal. But too soon he is faced
with the daunting task of trying to support a family as a commercial
artist in the midst of economic chaos. The lingering ghosts of his
captivity in a prisoner-of-war camp haunt him as does his idealized
memory of Margaret, the woman left behind when Ramsay originally went
into battle, but whose imprint on his psyche will never be erased.
Ramsey and Lillian exist, for a while, in a state of frozen matrimony,
dogged by his history and her inexperience. He wins a job as a pin-up
artist when most of his contemporaries are walking the streets. Yet,
even when he is winning, Ramsey is also captive. When a passionate
affair nearly unhinges him, the fragile truce of his love life seems
ready to explode just as Europe is on the verge of sliding into war
"The Famished Lover is a compact, well-written and highly
entertaining novel. For all the hand-wringing that has gone on of late
in the Canadian press about the historical novel being an exhausted and
outworn genre, the book demonstrates the continued vitality of the
form, the particular manner in which the novelistic imagination is able
to seize upon a particle of the remote past and turn it into something
mesmerizing and deeply affecting, and also surprisingly contemporary."
--Steven Hayward, Literary Review of Canada
"Cumyn is an accomplished writer and The Famished Lover is both
a complex and compelling read. It is also that rare thing - a sequel
that is the equal of an excellent, moving original and in some ways
--Bruce Berskine, Halifax Chronicle-Herald
"The Famished Lover is masterfully written..."
--Kelly-Anne Riess, Regina Leader-Post
Longlisted for the International
Literary Award and the
The Famished Lover is published by Goose
Cumyn reading from The Famished Lover (5 minutes, 2.2 MB).
Return to Alan Cumyn's Homepage.