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April in Parisby Michael Wallner
Synopses & Reviews
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 Paris is 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.
"Wallner's harrowing debut, a love story of sorts though there's little romance, rings with authenticity. In 1943, Corporal Roth, a 22-year-old translator in the German occupation forces in France, is reassigned to SS headquarters in Paris, where his job is to translate the confessions of members of the resistance as they are being tortured. While strolling through the city, Roth encounters a beautiful young woman and is instantly smitten. Because he can speak French flawlessly, Roth takes the identity of 'Antoine' and pursues the young lady, Chantal, with tragic results. Chantal is a member of the French resistance, and while Roth isn't a coldhearted Nazi, he is a German and his obsession leads him ever downward until he's accused of being a traitor. Many European imports these days read like pale imitations of genre novels by Americans, but this sterling period piece will strike readers as distinctively and refreshingly German in its concerns." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The reader is sympathetic to the hapless Roth, who, despite his contributions to the Nazi machine, is just a young man looking forward to the end of the war." Library Journal
"Think Alan Furst with a different sort of hero, and a darker, more visceral edge." Booklist
"Set in a time of great fear and uncertainty, april in Paris is a stunning love story that Michael Wallner has penned with a poignancy unequaled by most historical fiction writers." Bookreporter.com
Written in an elegant and arresting style, this page-turner is a thrilling novel by a promising new writer, who has brought the reality of a war-torn past very much to the present.
About the Author
Michael Wallner is an actor and screenwriter. He lives in Germany and divides his time between Berlin and the Black Forest, and is at work on his next novel.
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