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RAPPORT DE BRODECK (LE) (French) Mass Market Paperback – Apr 29 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Concours Plumes francophones Concours Plumes francophones

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 374 pages
  • Publisher: LIVRE DE POCHE (LGF) (September 2009)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2253125725
  • ISBN-13: 978-2253125723
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.9 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #243,593 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Né en Lorraine en 1962, Philippe Claudel, romancier traduit dans une trentaine de langues, est l'auteur d'une vingtaine d'ouvrages souvent primés, dont Les Ames grises (2003) et La Petite Fille de Monsieur Linh (2005). Son premier film, Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, avec Kristin Scott Thomas et Elsa Zylberstein, est sorti au début de l'année 2008.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The characterization implied in the above quote can be taken as an important theme, underlying Philippe Claudel's evocative novel. Much in his novel is literally not quite accurate, but fundamentally very true. Brodeck, the first person narrator and a man who "has the language", has been tasked by the village men to write a "Report" on an Incident (referred to consistently as "l'Ereignies" in the original French text) that occurred just prior to Brodeck's arrival at the village inn. Something violent has happened to the "Anderer" (meaning "Other"), a recently arrived visitor to the village. The Report is to explain what has occurred and why and absolve the men from any responsibility. Reluctantly, for reasons that become clear in the course of the novel, Brodeck agrees. However, to protect himself [in case that may be needed], he embarks in parallel on a much fuller, intimate account, secretly written and carefully protected from his nosy neighbours.

The small village, where Brodeck and his family live, is located in an isolated mountain region, close to a national border, seemingly to Germany. Throughout the text Claudel uses terms and phrases that can be associated, more or less easily, with a form of German dialect. The soldiers who occupied the village during the recent war (presumed to be World War II) are referred to as "Fratergekeime", (a term which suggests someone like a brother). There are also geographical clues to the setting of the novel in the Lorraine/Alsace region of France, that had a German as well as French history and where the author was raised and lives.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Imagine a region on the border between two powers, its nominal sovereignty shuffled between them with the ebb and flow of history. Imagine a place whose personal and place names belong to one country, but whose official language is that of the other, and whose local dialect is a hybrid known only to its inhabitants. Imagine a land of mountains and forests, where individual villages are isolated "like eggs in nests," and where even somebody arriving from three hours' walk away will seem a stranger. Philippe Claudel was born in Lorraine, parts of which have shifted between France and Germany, but the setting of his novel is left deliberately vague. The country borders on Germany, of that there is no doubt, but the mountains seem a lot higher than the Vosges, and the isolation is more complete.

I read the book in French, and Claudel does something similar with the language. The French (sometimes elevated, sometimes down to earth, always brilliant) is sewn with numerous German words in italics. But they are German with a French accent, German in a dialect, words which may mean one thing but suggest others. The word for their neighbors over the border, for instance: "Fratergekeime," with its suggestion of both brother and stranger. Added to the mostly-Germanic proper names and the vagueness about place and time, Claudel creates a kind of fog with his writing, despite the clarity of his actual descriptions. And a special experience for me, to add that extra layer of a foreign language not my own to a book where foreign-ness is a major subject.

For Claudel's fog parallels a moral miasma, where nothing is as it seems. There is absolute evil, certainly, and at least one radiant touch of absolute good, but for the most part the moral lines are not so clearly drawn.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa4ea8dd4) out of 5 stars 1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa4eabf24) out of 5 stars So Compelling . . So Painful! Feb. 20 2014
By Lyn J Hale - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I preferred Les Ames Grises to this novel principally because I enjoy the mystery genre, and it was a truly excepional effort. This novel is compelling and hard to put down, but it is so tragic and pathetic that I was forced to set it aside several times just to give myself a bit of relief. I'm sure that the horrors of WWII have been depicted in more graphic ways somewhere, someplace, but the series of terrible events that befall the novel's characters are horrific to an extreme. At times I felt that it would have been more tactful and more germain to the novel's tone and theme, to hold back a little. Still it is a remarkable effort and surely brings the reader into contact with the horror of war in its many destructive dimensions.