April in Paris

April in Paris

Book - 2007
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A suspenseful and dramatic story of impossible love between a German soldier and a French Resistance fighter in World War Two Paris.

In 1943, Michel Roth is a young soldier working in the German army's back offices in occupied Paris. But his fluency in French gets Roth a new task when the Gestapo find themselves in need of a translator for the confessions of interrogated French resisters.

After work Roth chooses another path - he slips out of his hotel carrying a bag of civilian clothes and steals into an alley where he changes personas, becoming Monsieur Antoine, a young Frenchman. He strolls the streets of Paris, where one day he meets Chantal, daughter of an antiquarian bookseller. They fall in love, and when Chantal warns him away from the notorious café Turachevsky, favoured nightspot for German officers and the French women who entertain them, Michel believes it is out of jealousy. Too late he discovers that she is a member of the Resistance, and his naiveté leaves Michel on the other side of the SS interrogation machine.

What follows is a tale of desperate cat and mouse through Paris, and into the devastated French countryside at the end of the war, when neighbours are quick to betray neighbours, and even to take revenge into their own hands.


From the Hardcover edition.
Publisher: Toronto : Doubleday Canada, c2007.
ISBN: 9780385662796
9780385662789
0385662785
Characteristics: 248 p. :,ill. ;,22 cm.
Additional Contributors: Cullen, John 1942-

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DeltaQueen50
Apr 28, 2012

April in Paris explores the moral dilemma of being a soldier in an occupied city, a soldier who has no military ambitions and generally seems indifferent to the political structure of his country. He is assigned to the Gestapo headquarters to work as a translator during the interrogation of prisoners. His escape takes the form of dropping his military uniform every now and then, dressing as a civilian and pretending to be a Frenchman. Sounds harmless enough, but German soldiers were under strict orders never to appear on the streets out of uniform.

During his wanderings, he meets and becomes infatuated with a young French girl. Eventually he realizes that she is in fact working for the Resistance. Although, on the surface a love story, I found this more of a perceptive, intimate look at a young man, torn from his carefree student life, put into a uniform and forced to do things to prove he is a loyal German soldier, things that were destroying his soul. The romantic aspect just didn’t connect with me, they spent very little time with each other, instead, probably due to his loneliness, he built this up in his head to be more than it was.

As we all know every German soldier during World War II was not a Nazi, and I found this an interesting subject to read about. This book is both thought provoking and suspenseful as it delves into one young man’s apathy and transformation as he realizes that during war, one can’t just drift along. Excellently translated from German, April In Paris details life in occupied Paris which makes a fascinating backdrop to this story of both an impossible love and of facing up to your inner convictions.

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