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.
Life and love are both battlefields in Wallner's anguished debut of wartime suspense, translated from German, which quickly embroils the reader in the tragic double-life of 22-year-old Corporal Roth. (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
New York Times - Joseph Finder
The result is a piece of period entertainment that is satisfying if not entirely successful. April in Paris lacks the gravitas of, say, Bernhard Schlink's novel The Reader. And it doesn’t achieve the dark foreboding found in the work of Kanon and Furst. Like its protagonist, adrift between two worlds, it can’t quite decide what it wants to be.
Booklist - Sarah Johnson
Wallner rises above this overused plotline with his stylish, readable language (with just enough French to convey atmosphere); lovingly depicted Parisian setting; and well-done characterizations. Think Alan Furst with a different sort of hero, and a darker, more visceral edge.
Wallner's harrowing debut, a love story of sorts though there's little romance, rings with authenticity.
Library Journal - Bette-Lee Fox
Actor/screenwriter Wallner describes occupied Paris with all the detail and clarity of a spring day. Recommended for all fiction collections.
Nürnberger Nachrichten - Harald Loch
A remarkable story that could only play out in an occupied Paris torn between poetry and drama, and love and death… an enthralling blend of gravity and suspense.
Lesart - Monika Melcher April in Paris is a thrilling read . . . Michael Wallner writes with great delicacy . . . deftly creating an atmosphere full of suspense.
Frankfurter Neue Presse April in Paris is a majestic novel ... [Wallner] has perfectly captured the language of the era, and explored the moral dilemma of an apolitical soldier torn between obedience and sentiment.
A cross between Ken Follet and The Reader by Bernard Schlink ... April in Paris is a book to share with friends: a love story for men who don't usually cry.
A short history of the French
France capitulated to Germany on
June 25 1940 and was divided
into three key zones: A German
occupation zone in the north and
west, a small Italian occupation
zone in the southeast and
"Vichy France" in the south (map).
The French Army was disbanded
except for a small force to keep
domestic peace, and the French
government agreed to stop
members of its armed forces
leaving the country and to
instruct its citizens not to
Despite this, some members of
the French Army, led by General
Charles De Gaulle, escaped
to England, from where he gave
his famous speech on June 18th
(four days after the Nazis
occupied Paris) via BBC radio,...
The daily life of a small town is hardly disturbed by the First World War raging nearby. But this illusion is shattered by the deaths of three innocents. Twenty years on, a policeman still struggles to make sense of the deaths which both torment and sustain him.
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