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?