The novel takes place in a small Quebec during WWI. The town acts as the backdrop for a fable-like story of conscription, religion, love, family and yes- the dreaded French-English relations. The novel features a variety of soldiers- one on leave, one avoiding going all together, one upon his return and one upon his return in a coffin. These French soldiers, in all their states, are interrupted by English soldiers escorting the coffin of the fallen French soldier. Add in a few dozen drunk villagers and trouble is bound to happen.
The novel is at times terrifyingly violent, but the characters are written with great compassion and the novel is clever and concise. A definitely worthwhile read.