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April in Paris
Michael Wallner
Adult Fiction WALLNER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

It is the summer of 1943, and Wehrmacht corporal Roth finds himself in Paris, translating SS interrogations of French prisoners. He hates the brutality that follows, but it is preferable to being at the front, isn't it? Wanting to find some measure of escape, he secretly trades in his uniform for a checkered suit and transforms himself into Monsieur Antoine, a Frenchman. In this guise, he meets Chantal, a bookseller's daughter who is also a member of the Resistance: he is enchanted by her, she is suspicious of him. Yet when the SS raid the barbershop where Chantal's fellow activists gather, he proves he isn't her enemy despite his nationality. Then, after a bombing at a brothel that kills high-ranking German officers, Roth is suspected of treason and now the translator is the detainee. As Antoine, he had only wanted to "flee reality." Now, reality is all around him. Actor/screenwriter Wallner describes occupied Paris with all the detail and clarity of a spring day. 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. Recommended for all fiction collections.-Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Roth
Male
Age: 21
German
Able to speak French; transferred to Gustapo headquarters; interpreter during interrogations; has an alter-ego named Antoine; passes as a French civilian; in love with Chantal; suspect in the bombing.
Interpreter

Chantal
Female
French
Joffo's daughter; works for Gustave; in love with Roth; bombs a nightclub full of German officers.
Resistance fighter

Joffo
Male
French
Owns an antique bookstore; runs a resistance printing press.
Bookseller

Gustave
Male
French
Chantal's boss; runs a resistance printing press with Joffo; captured and tortured.
Barber



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