As a writer-researcher, I am aware of the amount of work that goes into a book such as this. I am blown away by the thoroughness of the research and the ease with which the author folds the historical data into the story line without making the tone didactic or boring. The information remains welcome and enjoyable. We have a feeling of being right there with each character as the story unfolds. The characters demand and deserve empathy, steadfastly hold our interest and keep us wanting to turn the page to find out what happens to them. Excellent work and deserving of profitable publicity as well as the incentive to write another novel!
Sylvia Adams, Poet. January 10, 2016
A Marginally Noted Man so captivated me that I read it cover to cover in one sitting. I loved the story set within the period of WW1, the clear and succinct attention to detail yet full of beauty, mystery, and passion. Shmelzer knows these places – the homestead, the monastery, the trenches – and she knows her characters, their dialogue identifying by tone and content.
I was stuck by the following paragraph from page 101, at once beautiful yet horrifying … Will travelled in darkness. As he soared luminescent prisms – pink, mauve, orange, turquoise – lumbered inwardly from the encompassing blackness. Rotating end over end on their axes, bumping and grinding like plangent waves, these glittering missiles probed into his belly, shards tearing off and tumbling into the midnight-blue abyss. Myriads of miniscule meteorites sped by, scorching Will’s flesh – whining, thundering, until with every muscle taut he extended his arms, arched his back, and tilted into limitless space. He accelerated into a preordained trajectory.
This book draws one to read it again and again.
Margaret Cook, Technical Writer and Editor. January 5, 2016
A Marginally Noted Man is a wonderfully and poetically crafted journey into the horror of war. As the protagonist Will Nicol outlines in this book, “Every person who participates in war is at fault”, and every character is shaped in some way by their experience of living through WW1. The fine level of detail provides a sense of “realness” that makes this narrative a compelling look into the emotional, spiritual, and physical misery of war and its aftermath. Despite the heaviness of the subject matter, however, the surprising plot twists prevent the reader from getting mired in the tragedy of destruction, and instead we remain engaged and travel with Will as he grapples with coming home as a different person.
Elaine Donnelly, Educator & PhD candidate UMass Boston. January 4, 2016
A Marginally Noted Man is a wonderful book. Your style reminds me very much of Ondaatje’s, modified by your unique lyricism. I love the way you did not resolve the issues facing the two young soldiers. Life does not solve such dilemmas; it teaches us only how to live with them and leave room in our hearts for the beauty of nature and of human souls.
My heartfelt admiration and congratulations,
Donella Dunlop, Author. January 14, 2016
I am in awe of your insight into a World War One vet. I heard the voices speaking to me as I floated through the compelling narrative.
Brian Bach, www.ottertooth.com/temagami, February 1, 2016.
Finished your book on the weekend between putting wood in the fires and keeping things from freezing in the barn. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Really impressed with how smoothly it read with that much dialogue. Very nice!
These last few years I’ve read a lot about politics and international relations from generations long before mine to try and understand some of the messes we now see. We definitely live from our history and it emphasizes the importance of good leadership, almost impossible to get. Again, beautiful book, and congratulations.
Mark Robinson, farmer. February 16, 2016.
I was very excited to read this book, knowing the author, Anne Shmelzer. A Marginally Noted Man is a page turner from the beginning to the end. If you know anyone who has ever served in a war, you will know that they do not usually speak of it. This must be their way of dealing with what we now know to be PTSD. Anne gives us insight. The “forbidden love” is what pulls Will through.
I was giving this book such praise that my partner “hijacked it” from me. Congratulations, Anne!
Laurie Gray, February 26, 2016.
This is a wonderfully crafted book by our own Temple member, Anne Shmelzer, that tells the intimate story between two men confronting their fears during the Great War. It is beautiful, evocative and extremely well researched. I highly recommend it.
Dar Blue, Librarian, Temple Israel. March 3, 2016.
I loved your book, Anne. Could not put it down. Well done.
Debbie Pagurek, Ottawa, March 9, 2016.
I was really taken with how you integrated the research so seamlessly. The monastery scenes, in particular, were captivating. I went to Vimy Ridge for the first time a few summers ago. An intensely moving experience, especially knowing that the woods are still mined, after all these years. I suppose trauma is like that. Never far away from the surface. I understood Leah’s fears around Michael’s return, all the not knowing about what could be stirred up and what needs to be stirred up to heal properly. I like the arc of the novel, how you offer the hope of healing but don’t simplify the complexities, or lighten the darkness too much.
Mark Foss, author of Spoilers and Kissing the Damned, March 10, 2016
The story is colorful, well-researched and engaging.
From the trenches of warfare, the reader is taken on a journey from this horrific trauma to the aftermath and its effects. The poignant and romantic relationship between Uncle Will and his niece Leah offers an interesting twist. The read is relevant and well done.
Hats off to the author and looking forward to what she’s got up her sleeve next!
Roberta Gold, Toronto, August 2016.