Friday 7 December 2018

The Confidant

Finished November 30
The Confidant by Hélène Grémillon, translated by Alison Anderson
This novel takes place in France in 1975. Camille is a middle-aged French woman, working in publishing, who has recently lost her mother in an accident. As she goes through the condolence letters, she finds a long letter from someone who hasn't signed their name. The letter seems to be telling a story, and Camille works her way through various thoughts surrounding the letter, and the ones that follow, continuing the story.
At first, she thinks it must be a mistake. Then she thinks that the letters are by one of her authors, trying a new way to get her attention. Then she begins to both hope and fear that the letters are about her own story, one she never knew.
The stories appear to be by a man called Louis, who was a teenager when the war began, and he was separated from a girl from his village that he'd fallen in love with. The young girl, Annie, was an amateur artist, and when a young couple moves into the grand estate near the village, she is drawn into a friendship with the woman, and gradually into a plot to assist them in having a child. As Annie is separated from her friends and family, the impressionable young girl dreams of freedom, of escaping her situation, and of a life beyond her current state.
When Annie and Louis are reunited again in 1942, Annie confides in him, and looks for assistance but the story is one with many tragedies, and as Camille sorts her way through the story to find the truth, she discovers how these events are reflected in her own life.
This is a story of longing, of loss, of revenge, and of a past that returns.

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