Thursday, March 15, 2012


(This is a big, thick book. Actually, the copy I bought used on Amazon is a Doubleday Book Club edition. It took me a lot of time to read. Unusual for me, but I was somewhat indisposed (Shingles) during the time I was reading it. I loved returning to it every single night at bedtime. I love this book.)

For all our youth the Astell family had lived in and out of Douzy, the small chateau named after the village, hidden by vineyards lining the gentle, sloping hills of Champagne. My American father and mother, his father's father, my French grandma, my brother and his twin sister, our friends, our lovers--all had made up a patchwork of happiness that none believe would ever end.

* * *

That was before. But then the serenity of Douzy was exchanged for lives that tore us apart, of death and torture for some, despite neutrality, and eventually, after America entered the war, for me a life spent in ditches and barns, hunting the enemy or being hunted--to protect or to kill.

A Farewell to France
Noel Barber

I will begin to read everything written by Noel Barber. Everything. He's written loads of fiction and non-fiction. This book is his second novel, and it makes me want to read his first, Tanamera (which is also a film) and then to proceed through his entire roster.

Noel Barber was for many years the chief foreign correspondent for the London Daily Mail. He was the first Briton to reach the South Pole since Scott, was stabbed five times covering wars in Momrocco, reported on the fall of France to the Nazis, was shot during the Hungarian uprising, and walked across the Himalayas to report the Dalai Lama's escape to India.
from the back cover flap

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