Excerpt from April In Paris by Michael Wallner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

April In Paris

By Michael Wallner

April In Paris
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Hardcover: May 2007,
    248 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2008,
    256 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter 1

I learned about the transfer before noon. The small stripes of light had reached the windowsill. My major came in and kept one hand on the doorknob while gesturing to me with the other to keep my seat. He wanted to know if the hogwash from Marseille was ready yet. I pointed to the half–written sheet still in the typewriter. I could go when I reached the end of the page, he said.

"And the dispatch from Lagny–sur–Marne?" I asked, surprised.

"Someone else will have to do it. You're needed elsewhere."

I pressed my knees together under the table. In those days, many people were being sent to the front.

"I'm being reassigned?"

"Rue des Saussaies has lost a translator." The major ran his hand down the left side of his uniform coat. German Horseman's Badge, War Merit Cross. He said he'd do all he could to get me back. I shouldn't worry, he said; my transfer would be only temporary.

"What happened to the translator from rue des Saussaies?"

"He was run over and killed last night."

I flinched. "Partisans?"

"Of course not. The guy was drunk, and he went staggering over a bridge. Because of the blackout, the patrol car saw him too late. Unfortunately, he didn't die right away. Horrible. Anyway, the request for an interpreter wound up on my desk. You seem to have a reputation in rue des Saussaies," the major said with a rare smile. "They specifically asked for you."

My back stiffened. I glanced across the room toward the wall map, scale 1:500,000. Arrows, hatching, the plaster rosette over the door, the remains of cloth wallpaper from the time when people still lived here. My desk, the French dictionary, badly chewed pencils. I was going to miss the lovely view out over the line of roofs to the west.

The major looked at me gloomily. "Finish the Marseille thing. Then take the rest of the day off. You start over there tomorrow morning. You'll be back in a few days. Those folks aren't particularly fond of strange faces."

I stood up and saluted; the major absentmindedly raised his arm. I remained standing even after he left the room. The sunlight came through the window and cast a shadow like a cross on the wall. All at once, I was cold. I buttoned my top button and grabbed my cap, as though I was about to leave. Then I put it down again, lowered myself onto the chair, read the French original, and began typing the translation with two fingers.

You could have gone another way, I said to myself. How careless, to walk down rue des Saussaies, of all streets. The black–and–silver uniform appeared quite suddenly, right in front of SS headquarters. A brief exchange of words. Did he ask for a light? You'd better be careful. Only translate expressions from the dictionary. Stare at the table. Never look anyone in the face. Forget whatever they let you see. In the evening, you'll go to your hotel; in the morning, you'll report for duty on time. Until they don't need you anymore. Then you'll go back to your major, who doesn't want to do anything but enjoy the city and relish the role of the conqueror and leaves it to you to push arrows and numbers around and adorns your reports with his name. As long as you remain indispensable, he'll keep them from sending you into the real war.



The Pont Royal was standing in water up to its shoulders, only half a meter shy of the high–water mark set in 1700 and something. Fishermen leaned over the parapet wall. The stones were already warm, and people were sitting around with half–closed eyes, facing the sun. When they heard the hobnailed boots approaching, some turned away. I plunged into the hubbub of the Latin Quarter. The more people there were, the less conspicuously foreign I was. The waters of the Seine raged in the steel framework of the Pont Solferino. A stout Oriental woman at a produce stand picked up three miserable apples and felt them, one after another. Not far away, a private first class and his comrade stood gawking at her. A silver half–moon glistened on her forehead.

Excerpted from April in Paris by Michael Wallner Copyright © 2007 by Michael Wallner. Excerpted by permission of Nan A. Talese, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Pope and Mussolini
    The Pope and Mussolini
    by David I. Kertzer
    The Pope and Mussolini is a riveting account of the parallel rise to power of the authoritarian ...
  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.