Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fine of 200 Francs by Elsa Triolet, 9/81

This is a series of stories about the men and women of the French resistance. Triolet secretly published this book during the war, and thus is not merely a chronicle of, but also part of the actual fight against Nazi occupation. Triolet tells stories of men and women who found themselves, either by choice or necessity, engaged with the resistance movement. Given the subject matter, it likely comes as no surprise that these are haunting stories. They are extremely atmospheric: cold, hunger, uncertainty, all are omnipresent in these tales, and are vividly presented to the reader. While these sensory experiences are so vivid, other things have been normalized. Some privations have been so normalized that they pass with minimal comment. Because this was published during wartime by the underground press there are elements of wartime culture Triolet never fully explains. While these must have been self-evident in 1944, they are not necessarily so in 2009. That said, this was a very interesting look at the day-to-day operations of the resistance movement.

Elsa Triolet, A Fine of 200 Francs (Virago, 1986) ISBN: 0140161341

Category: Virago Modern Classics 3/9, 9/81

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