This beautifully written book deals with the subject of post-traumatic stress. Its two main characters, Will Nicol and Michael Isaacs are fellow soldiers who become friends in the First World War. The book begins with Will making his way home to Hastings County, back to the family farm. There he reconnects with his niece, Leah, and helps to run the farm. The transition back to rural life is filled with detailed flashbacks about the terrible conditions, violence witnessed, and tragic things the soldiers were called to do. They spent time in a monastery where they were aided in their healing and given skills to help deal with their PTSD by some dedicated priests. Michael was from the Tyendinago tribe and hoped to open a school as he had been trained as a teacher. Back in Canada, however, the battle continued. Michael also returns to Canada and is reunited with his friend, Will.
The book is alive with description of personal struggles and wartime reminiscences. Well-written and engaging, Anne Shmelzer has offered us a poetic look into the lives of three people — two soldiers and the woman left behind in Canada to await Will’s homecoming.
VISTAS, May 2016 issue
Anne Shmelzer displays an acute understanding of the warfare experience. She shines a light on the early emergence of PTSD and creates a vivid image of Will Nicol’s internal struggle to regain his mental health. From the battlefields of the Western Front to his reintegration into society, A Marginally Noted Man takes us on an emotional journey that is difficult to put down. This is a great read!
Col Rakesh Jetly CD OMM MD FRCPC
Senior Psychiatrist, Canadian Armed Forces
Thank you very much for sending us a copy of your book, A Marginally Noted Man. The Union always appreciates members sending their books for the TWUC library – this book will make a wonderful addition.
Best wishes, Valerie Laws, Office Administrator.
The Writers’ Union of Canada, August 22, 2016.