In this much anticipated follow-up to The Sojourn, Alan Cumyn continues the story of Ramsay Crome, an artist who never quite came home from the First World War. The horrors of his years in a German prisoner of war camp continue to haunt him, as does the idealized memory of his long-lost sweetheart, his beautiful Margaret. It is those memories that literally save his life and keep him from a cold grave in a foreign land. Upon his return home to Montreal, Crome seeks the nourishment of body and soul, sometimes impulsively, after years of torture and deprivation. He meets Lillian, a farm girl from the Eastern Townships and is drawn to her youthful vigour, her innocence, and yes, her beauty. These prove to be a potent elixir and they marry quickly. By the time she is pregnant with their son, she wants nothing more than to escape the dreary poverty of their Depression-era existence and flee back to the farm with her husband and child. She wants him to love only her, to open up about his war experiences, explain the paintings she found of a nude Margaret. To her they are obscenities and provoke the bitter taste of jealousy.
The Famished Lover is Alan Cumyn's most mature and accomplished novel to date. It explores one man's hunger for love and meaning in a harsh, unforgiving world and the beautiful, yet corrosive, nature of longing.