Aged in his 40s, Tilman returns to Shoneval, and Klara is reunited with the brother who had been assumed dead years ago.
Here it is learned that Tilman is a veteran of the Great War, and lost his leg in the battle of Vimy Ridge.
Tilman also opens himself up to physical intimacy for the first time, with a male war-wounded French chef.
Both Tilman and the chef, Recouvrir, find love and healing in each other's damaged bodies.
The background story of Father Gstir and the church construction is loosely based on the construction of the church in Formosa, Ontario.
A carver imposes a shape on stone, and must be able to do so reliably and in a manner that can be duplicated. One is a more “artistic” definition, written by a professional stonecarver.However, unable to be kept in one place, Tilman leaves for good.By contrast, Klara is eager to learn the carving trade and Becker teaches her while her mother passes on her skills of needlework.However, the story centres around the lives of the wood carver's grandchildren in the 1900s; thus exploring the devastation of World War I, the building of the Vimy Memorial in France, and what Urquart calls "the redemptive nature of making art." Beginning with the woodcarver Joseph Becker, the novel's timeline shifts back and forth between his life in 19th century Ontario, and the pre- and post-war lives of the grandchildren Klara and Tilman.Told in three parts, The Stone Carvers starts within Canada, moving to France as the characters negotiate their grief, and explore the human need to live, remember and memorialize.However, the boy is reluctant and unenthusiastic; suffering from wanderlust, Tilman is unable to stay in the same spot for long, and often runs away from the small town.When Tilman reaches 12, his mother is overcome with the stress of losing her child over and over again, resulting in the use of some unorthodox ways to keep him to Shoneval, including literally tying him down.He eventually meets up with a tramp named Refuto, who had left home because he felt guilty for indirectly killing his brother.Later, Refuto decides to try returning home, fearful that his family will not forgive his wrongs.However, the narrative then rewinds to when Klara and her brother Tilman were children.Here we learn that they are the grandchildren of Becker who tries to pass on his carving skills to his grandson.