The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: The relationship between Father and Son

I know my last Studio Poise post should be up today, but my month doesn’t end until Saturday, so I am saving that post for next week!

In case you didn’t know, in my pre-child life I was a teacher, more specifically I was a history teacher. The areas I loved to teach (and to continue to learn more about) are any War era, the 60’s & 70’s, the Cold War era. When I got the opportunity, via From Left to Write, to read and review The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy, I was ecstatic!


When his beloved brother-in-law goes missing at the front in 1916, Angus defies his pacifist upbringing to join the war and find him. Assured a position as a cartographer in London, he is instead sent directly into the visceral shock of battle. Meanwhile, at home, his son Simon Peter must navigate escalating hostility in a fishing village torn by grief. With the intimacy of The Song of Achilles and the epic scope of The Invisible Bridge, The Cartographer of No Man’s Land offers a soulful portrayal of World War I and the lives that were forever changed by it, both on the battlefield and at home.


I haven’t finished the book yet (thank you UPS snafu) but I have read the majority of it. There are many different topics that come to mind when reading this, but the one I want to touch on is the relationship between a father and a son. I didn’t have any brothers, so I didn’t really encounter how this relationship could unfold on a day-to-day basis. I did however see the adult relationship between my dad and grandfather and between my uncles and their fathers.

For the most part these relationships were still “hard” for lack of a better word. The father(era) were stoic and sometimes cold to the son, and it was not even close to a relationship I had with either of my grandfathers. This is something I can see now, with some of the father son relationships that are in my life.

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I do hope this is a trend that is ending. I know that Nick and B have a very relaxed and fart-joke filled relationship. Nick is definitely the fun parent, I am the rule maker and enforcer ha. B has learned to love music and instruments just like his dad, and I am sure their bond will only get stronger as B gets older.

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While all parent-child relationships are important, I think it is okay to let our sons know that men can have healthy relationships with other people, men and women. By having an open and communicative relationship with his father, I only hope that B continues to have wonderful relationships and role models with the men in his life.

What do you think? Do father/son relationships seem cold, do you think that is changing?

10 thoughts on “The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: The relationship between Father and Son

  1. My father-in-law wasn’t really around for my husband but I think my husband is an amazing father to our daughter and son. I encourage him to be himself and let the kids grow into themselves as well. We will see how their relationships progress and grow!

  2. Pingback: Book Club Day: The Cartographer of No Man’s Land

  3. I think that father/son relationships might appear “cold” but in all actuality it’s a deeper bond than we can observe. Their communication skills are different, I guess. I don’t think you have anything to worry about with your parenting set up :) You guys look like you’re doing something right!

    • I totally agree, things are always deceiving to the eye. I do know in my personal life there have been colder relationships unfortunately. Thanks for the sweet comment :)

  4. my dad for me was totally also the fun parent and my mom was “the enforcer” and for that reason, we got along better than my mom and i did (back in the day at least). my dad is the enforcer when it comes to my brother and my mom totally babies him so my brother’s relationship with my dad has always been strained. now that my brother is in college and he and my dad have space they get along better when they are together (which is exactly what happened with my mom and i). i don’t know if it has as much to do with it being father/son as it does with it being stricter parent and child.

    • Oh boy, I hope its not the latter. All though I am not naive to think that B man won’t hate me at some point in his life. I too have gotten closer to my mom as an adult, but that’s something I am still working on ;)

  5. My dad was of the era and temperament that made him distant from both me and my brother. I don’t think modern men want it to be that way any more and this is an advance human development.

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