The Canadian National Vimy Memorial sits on a preserved battlefield in France where the Canadian Expeditionary Force took part in the Battle of Vimy Ridge during World War I. The huge marble monument took 11 years to build and has giant human sculptures representing sacrifice, mourning, and strength and includes over 11,000 names of Canadian soldiers missing in action.
In Jane Urquhart's novel The Stone Carvers, we meet three fictional people who wind up working on this magnificent monument. Their lives are transformed both by the beauty of art and the horrors of war.
Klara and Tilman Becker grow up in rural Canada in a German immigrant community at the turn of the century. Their grandfather is a wood carver with high hopes for Tilman to learn the master craft. While Tilman has a natural carving ability, he is proves unable to stay on the farm. Even as early as 12, Tilman must migrate. Nothing his family does can keep him on the farm, not even a chain.