“Sparely and beautifully written, The Deserters is a story, not of escape, but of the deep, human need to belong to a place, and to one another.”
“Here is the fallout of war, the logic of betrayal, told with grace, elegance, and an unflinching gaze.”
“In The Deserters, her beautiful and understated debut novel about those who love, those who fight, and those who leave, Pamela Mulloy makes connections between characters, continents and centuries and creates a constellation.”
Shifting across three countries, The Deserters explores themes of trust, isolation, abandonment, and emotional disconnection in a world dramatically altered by the experience of war.
Eugenie is trying—and mostly failing—to restore an inherited old farm in New Brunswick while her husband, a master carpenter is away in Spain. The work involved overwhelms her so she hires Dean to help bring the farm back to working order. But Dean is a deserter from the US Army suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and he is using the untamed backwoods of her property to hide out from immigration officials. As Eugenie and Dean fall into a relationship, he is tormented by flashback, nightmares, and the flickering memories of his wartime experiences in Iraq. And then Eugenie’s husband returns.
“What haunts us? What do we leave behind, and what must we always carry? The Deserters asks unanswerable questions and tells untellable stories. It’s subtle as a carving knife.”
– Erin Bow, author of The Swan Riders