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ECW Press Spring 2022 Trade

  • Reading Levels

    Lexile measure: HL890L
  • Sales Rights

    For sale with exclusive rights in: WORLD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: Jaguar Book Group Availability: Available Expected Ship Date: Apr 05, 2022 On Sale Date: Apr 26, 2022 Carton Quantity: 40 $24.95 CAD
  • Supply Detail

    Distributor: BTPS Availability: Available Expected Ship Date: Apr 05, 2022 On Sale Date: Apr 26, 2022 Carton Quantity: 40 $19.95 USD
  • Catalogues

What Is Written on the Tongue
A Novel
By (author): Anne Lazurko
Anne Lazurko


ECW Press - Toronto



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


General Trade
Apr 26, 2022
$24.95 CAD


8.5in x 5.5 x 0.74 in | 0.92 lb

Page Count:

328 pages
ECW Press
FICTION / Literary
Fiction: general and literary|Biographical fiction|Second World War fiction|Historical fiction|c 1938 to c 1946 (World War Two period)
  • Short Description
Released from Nazi forced labour as WWII ends, twenty-year old Samuel Vandenberg is quickly drafted and sent to the island of Java to help regain control of the East Indies colony. The story of one young man’s journey from being occupied to holding the gun, from having an enemy to becoming one.

For readers of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a transportive historical novel about finding morality in the throes of war and colonization

Released from Nazi forced labor as World War II ends, 20-year-old Sam is quickly drafted and sent to the island of Java to help regain control of the colony. But the Indonesian independence movement is far ahead of the Dutch, and Sam is thrown into a guerilla war, his loyalties challenged when his squad commits atrocities reminiscent of those he suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Sam falls in love with both Sari and the beautiful island she calls home, but as he loses friends to sniper fire and jungle malady, he also loses sight of what he wants most — to be a good man.

Sales and Market Bullets

  • When Lazurko’s father was 80 years old he casually said, “When I had the nervous breakdown in Indonesia.” This piqued Anne’s interest, and she began her research into what happened in the Dutch East Indies post WWII. She traveled to Java to experience the sights and sounds of the jungle and to understand what happened during the Indonesian Independence Movement and what her father may have gone through.

  • For readers of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

  • Anne Lazurko’s debut novel, Dollybird (Coteau, 2013), was shortlisted for the Saskatchewan Fiction Award (2014) and won the WILLA Award for Historical Fiction (2014).


  • Fans of Slaughterhouse Five, The Things They Carried, and similar “masculine” war fiction

  • Fans of John Irving, Larry McMurtrie, Cormac McCarthy

  • Readers of generational epic war fiction

Anne Lazurko’s first novel, Dollybird, won the WILLA Award for Historical Fiction. She has short fiction and poetry published in literary magazines and anthologies and is an active teacher, editor, and mentor in the prairie writing community. An award-winning journalist and no-awards farmer, she lives near Weyburn, Saskatchewan.

“Teeming with life and drama, What Is Written on the Tongue is an ambitious, sweeping, riveting story of war, immorality, love and family. Spanning The Netherlands, Germany and Indonesia during and after the Second World War, Anne Lazurko's novel serves as a grim reminder that the oppressed sometimes become oppressors. The novel hooked me on the first page and captured me to the last.” — Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal

What Is Written on the Tongue is a gripping story of frailty and resilience. Anne Lazurko’s novel is a fully engaged, deeply researched study of one man’s struggle to retain his humanity amid the many tragedies of war.” — Helen Humphreys, author of Field Study: Meditations on a Year at the Herbarium

“In this deft and deeply moving novel, Anne Lazurko disperses the fog of war to shine a light on one soldier’s process of reckoning. As Sam confronts the enemy without and within, his creator honours the terrible vulnerability of our bodies, the essential balm of love and friendship, and the life-affirming beauty of the natural world, all the while lamenting the hell we so often make of this paradise we call home.” — Alissa York, author of The Naturalist

“This novel is the vivid and gripping story of a man caught in two brutal occupations: Sam is first a young victim of the Nazi occupation of The Netherlands in World War Two. He then becomes a colonial perpetrator as a Dutch soldier in the occupying army of Indonesia in the late forties. He suffers and then he deals out suffering. In this moving novel, Sam must search for a way to navigate his way through moral quagmires and find some kind of peace for himself and the ones he loves.” — Antanas Sileika, author of Provisionally Yours

What is Written on the Tongue isn’t an easy novel, but I highly recommend that you read it, because what it asks us to do is remember, not only the past, but also that the better angels of our own natures can transform into demons, given the right circumstances.” — Prairie Fire

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