In 1996, Sebastian
Faulks captivated audiences in Great Britain and the United States with
his vividly drawn, bestselling novel set during World War I. His first novel
since Birdsong is equally solid in style, but this time the backdrop
is World War II. Charlotte Gray, a well-educated Scottish woman in her mid-twenties,
travels south to London with the intent of making a greater contribution to
the war effort than she can from home. Once in London, she falls in love with
an RAF pilot who later vanishes during a flight to France and is assumed dead.
Charlotte's work and her passion for the pilot lead her deep into Vichy France,
where the Resistance grows alongside unremitting tragedy, and Charlotte, deeply
entrenched in convoluted political plots, struggles for her own life. Faulks's
spot-on descriptions of Occupied France carry important weight as he delves
into the emotions and memories, both collective and personal, that cause people
to collaborate or resist. Readers who enjoyed The
Girl at the Lion D'Or and Birdsong will find this psychologically
compelling odyssey a worthy successor to the earlier French works. Lilus,
Synopses & Reviews
In 1942, Charlotte Gray, a young scottish woman, goes to occupied France on a dual mission: to run an apparently simple errand for a British special operations group and to search for her lover, an English airman called Peter Gregory, who has gone missing in action. In the small town of Lavaurette, Sebastian Faulks presents a microcosm of France and its agony in 'the black years', here is the full range of collaboration, from the tacit to the enthusiastic, as well as examples of extraordinary courage and altruism. Through the local resistance chief Julien, Charlotte meets his father a Jewish painter whose inspiration has failed him. In Charlotte's friendship with both men, Faulks opens up the theme of false memory and of paradises both national and personal that appear irredeemably lost. In a series of shocking narrative climaxes in which the full extent of French collusion in the Nazi holocaust is delineated, Faulks brings the story to a resolution of redemptive love. In the delicacy of its writing, the intimacy of its characterisation and its powerful narrative scenes of harrowing public events, Charlotte Gray is a worthy successor to Birdsong.
"As a story about the power of love, it uplifts the spirit. As a story of the dispassionate evil of the Nazis, it brings tears to the eyes. As a story about ordinary people struggling to survive, it arouses admiration, understanding, and revulsion....Faulks (Birdsong) has written one of those rare books that is adventurous enough to attract a popular audience while thoughtful enough to sustain the more serious reader. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Never melodramatic, always riveting....A war novel that should take
its place among the masterpieces of the genre." Kirkus Reviews
From the bestselling author of Birdsong
comes Charlotte Gray
, the remarkable story of a young Scottish woman who becomes caught up in the effort to liberate Occupied France from the Nazis while pursuing a perilous mission of her own.
In blacked-out, wartime London, Charlotte Gray develops a dangerous passion for a battle-weary RAF pilot, and when he fails to return from a daring flight into France she is determined to find him. In the service of the Resistance, she travels to the village of Lavaurette, dyeing her hair and changing her name to conceal her identity. Here she will come face-to-face with the harrowing truth of what took place during Europe's darkest years, and will confront a terrifying secret that threatens to cast its shadow over the remainder of her days. Vividly rendered, tremendously moving, and with a narrative sweep and power reminiscent of his novel Birdsong, Charlotte Gray confirms Sebastian Faulks as one of the finest novelists working today.
From the Hardcover edition.
From bestselling author Sebastian Faulks comes Charlotte Gray, the remarkable story of a young Highland native who, at the height of World War II, joins the effort to liberate Occupied France and struggles to find the disappeared RAF pilot she adores.
Leaving behind blacked-out London, Charlotte is assigned to the village of Lavaurette. As a member of the Resistance, with her hair dyed and her name changed, she discovers the dark consequences of politics without beliefs and, through her friendship with an elderly painter and his son, a terrifying memory that threatens to cast its shadow over the remainder of her days. Here is a tale of love awakened and thwarted by wartime, and of a hope that survives the double blows of experience and reason. Vividly rendered, tremendously moving, Charlotte Gray confirms Sebastian Faulks as one of the finest historical novelists working today.
In 1942, Charlotte Gray goes to Occupied France on a duel mission, to run a simple errand for a British special operations group and to find her lover, an English airman who has gone missing in action. It is in the town of Lavaurette that she finds friendship and experiences life under Nazi rule. From the author of BIRDSONG.
About the Author
With Charlotte Gray
, Sebastian Faulks
concludes his French trilogy of novels, which began with The Girl at the Lion d'Or and Birdsong. His other books include A Fool's Alphabet and The Fatal Englishman. After a period in France, he and his family now live in London.
From the Hardcover edition.