Friday, 5 October 2007

A Good Listen

Finished October 4
The Collaborators by Reginald Hill, read by Michael Tudor Barnes
This one took a while to get through (13 CDs) but was excellent. The book was came out in 1987, but the audiobook is recent. The story is set in Paris from 1940 to 1945, mostly during the German occupation. Janine Simonian, daughter of patisserie owners Claude and Louise Crozier, married Jean Paul Simonian who is missing in action. When she tries to flee Paris ahead of the Germans, her car is destroyed by German planes and she and her children, Paulie and Cece, return to Paris. Janine is fiercely anti-Nazi and yet ends up being helped by a German Abwehr officer, Gunter Mai, when she tries to find out what happened to her husband. She turns to Mai later in the war when her children are rounded up after staying with their Jewish grandmother. With Paris under German occupation, some residants accept the patronage, some work with them, some collaborate openly, and some join the resistance. As the characters show their priorities and personal as well as national loyalties and do what they feel they must to survive, the complications emerge. After Paris is liberated, Janine is accused of supplying information to the Germans that led to the arrest and torture of members of the resistance, and to the murder of her husband. What is the truth of it, and where do the betrayals lie. I found the complex characters, the situation in Paris during this time and the actions of the plot engrossing and moving. I would definitely recommend this book.

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