April in Paris

April in Paris

Book - 2007
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Set in 1943, APRIL IN PARIS is the dramatic story of an impossible love between a German soldier and a French Resistance fighter in occupied Paris. Roth, a twenty-one-year-old German soldier, has spent most of his time in occupied Paris working in the army's back offices. But when his superiors learn of his ability to speak accent-free French, he is abruptly transferred to Gestapo headquarters to work as an interpreter during the interrogation of Resistance fighters. Rather than question his role in the Nazi regime, Roth translates with impeccable accuracy as the torture proceeds. But when his duty ends, Roth slips away from his fellow officers, changes into civilian clothes, and wanders aimlessly through Paris disguised as his alter ego "Antoine." One day he is drawn into an antiquarian bookshop and becomes enchanted with the bookseller's beautiful daughter, Chantal. The two begin to meet and fall in love before Roth has the courage to reveal his true identity, nor to discover Chantal's. When a bomb placed in a popular nightclub by the Resistance kills several high-ranking German officers, Roth finds himself not in his role as translator but as the suspect of the SS's interrogation. April in Parisis one of those rare books in which the emotional force of the love story is matched by page-turning suspense. Written in an elegant and arresting style, it is a thrilling novel by a promising new writer, who has brought the reality of a war-torn past very much to the present.
Uniform Title: April in Paris. English
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, c2007.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780385519144
0385519141
Branch Call Number: Fic
Characteristics: 248 p. ; 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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