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First Sentence I got a letter one day a long letter that wasn t signedCamille Warner is in publishing pregnant abandoned by her lover and sorting through condolences from her mother s death One letter much thicker than the rest stands out not only for its size but its lack of either salutation or signature and seems to be part of a story As segments arrive Camille is curious thinking perhaps it s an author looking to be published then intrigued as the characters begin to be identified As the story evolves Camille realizes just how personal the story is In the beginning it s not easy to identify which narrator is speaking when Usually I find this highly annoying I don t however believe the story really would not have worked any other way I also realized that after only a few pages I was so immersed in the story I didn t mind In the beginning there were a few portents always a major flaw in my view but even those I forgive The author scharacter s voice with the help of her translator immediately drew me in Her writing is punctuated with small truths that are both illuminating and disturbing As the curtain fluttered closed I thought of how once the last survivor of a family is dead there is no one left to receive letters of condolence and It is not other people who inflict the worse disappointments but the shock between reality and the extravagance of our imagination I shan t tell ou any about the characters beyond my summary above Learning who they are reading their stories as they unfold and learning how the relationships intertwine is all integral to the plot itself It should not be spoiled The story is set in two time periods the 1975 present and the Einführung in die deutsche Sprache der Wissenschaften years before WWII I appreciated learning of the milestones in history leading up to the war and seeing the European in this case French perspective of events In some ways the notions as to how women conceive and remedies for infertility were disturbing as they were immediate to the story This is a story within a story within a story within a story I was drawn in immediately and kept turning the pages to the very end Whateverou do DO NOT cheat and read the ending particularly the poem until ou reach it in its proper time The Confidant is a very compelling book I do highly recommend reading THE CONFIDANT Novel Camille France Contemp1940s ExGremillon Helen Alison Anderson Translator StandalonePenguin Books 2012 This is a dual timeline novel that alternates between 1975 and the ears before during after WWIIIn 1975 in Paris Camille has just lost her mother when she receives a long unsigned letter She tries to find the anonymous sender to no avail and she keeps getting letters about a woman named Annie and a man called Louis describing their lives during the Second WW Somehow she feels this must be related to her but doesn t understand why or howI thought I d had my share of WWII books but this one reads as a mystery which happens to be one of my favorite genres and although it speaks of the horrors of the war no way not to mention them it s about the peopleIt s also about Camille and the decisions she will make with her life and how the letters influence her 30 Hai nhà years later after the events the letters narrateGreat book beautifully written and translatedI received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review What will an hopelessly deranged and infertile Frenchwoman do to have her own child EverythingI received my ARC of The Confidant from First Reads What initially piued my interest was how reviewers compared the novel to Sarah s Key and having read and enjoyed that novel I hoped to catch myself reading about drama and mystery set against the backdrop of WWII in France The Confidant is similar to Sarah s Key in the way that they are both set on the same stage and both writers organized their stories by jumping back and forth between two timelinesstories That said The Confidant filled with feelings of lust betrayal and atonement deals with the personal afflictions of the characters as they seek their desires and hide from their demonsLouis a man tangled in an unfortunate triangle writes a series of letters to publisher Camille urging her to understand her complicated beginnings Throughout the story Camille unravels the mysterious and ultimately fatal relationship between the two women who claim to be her true mother What begins as a harmless wish turns in to a string of lies and masterfully concocted plans that destroys the lives of Annie and Elisabeth This was a pleasant short read fit for anyone interested in this genre While the writing was not as smooth as I hoped it to be in some places The Confidant still has a masterfully woven plot that is sure to keep readers flipping uickly until the end I finished this one last night and I can t stop thinking about it The story and the characters are still haunting me even though I closed the book I think this is one of my new favorites I really liked this book and I was feeling as if it would be a solid four star novel and then wow The very last paragraph came along and it earned that last star for an awesome conclusion I was thinking that it was going to finish in the conventionally predictable manner but I was so wrong I actually didn t see that coming Sure elements of the conclusion were not completely unexpected but the very end was just brilliant I really liked the change in perspective among the characters They were all so different and I loved how they all revealed the various aspects of the story until it came together clearly At times it was horrific and tragic but ultimately somewhat uplifting in an strange kind of way I ended up really liking the Louis character of course and hoping the rest of them could just be better people than they really were Fortunately this is fiction but the story is compelling enough that it s easy to forget that at least for a little while After the death of her mother Camille Werner is going through the condolence letters when she comes across a letter that is rather strange First of all it s not addressed to her the envelope is but the contents aren t There s no return address And it doesn t read like a letter but embarks on a story The writer Louis tells of meeting and befriending Annie as a child in the village of N in 1933 He was twelve Annie was ten and the world was changingCamille thinks at first that the letters have been addressed to her by mistake that there must be someone else in Paris with the same name as her but she can t find one The letters keep arriving the story keeps unfolding Louis moves forward in time to meeting Annie again in 1943 when she tells him what really happened with Madame and Monsieur M aoung bourgeois couple who move into a big house in the middle of the townAnnie becomes a freuent visitor to Madame M who encourages her passion for painting But when Annie is fifteen she leaves for Paris with the couple Madame s husband Paul a journalist later joins the war effort and is sent to the front Louis tells Annie s side of the story and as it unfolds Camille becomes invested in discovering who Louis is and what it all has to do with her Louis reveals one truth and then another the words of Madame M but it is Camille herself who comes to understand the last shattering heart breaking pieceThere is a lot to recommend French author Gr mil. Un adevărat fenomen editorial romanul de debut al scriitoarei franceze Hélène Grémillon a devenit bestseller imediat după apariţie în 2010 fiind tradus până în prezent în 27 de ţări Confidentul a fost încununat în Franţa cu numeroase premii printre care Lauriers Verts de la Forêt des Livres – Prix du Premier Roman 2010 Prix Palissy 2011 Prix Emmanuel Roblès 2011 Prix Montalembert 2011 şi Prix Jeune Talent Litté.
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Lon s debut novel which is on the surface of things a simple even predictable story of a family secret and the lives it affected Touching on themes of motherhood social pressure and identity as well as the damage that lies secrets and betrayals can inflict this is a realistic deeply human story taking place against the backdrop of Germany s invasion and occupation of FranceDivided into two parallel time frames 1975 and the 30s and 40s the focus is on the past with the present scenes of Camille s life sketched out with telling details that flesh out her character and her life she s fallen pregnant by a man who doesn t want children and decides to keep it she s lost both her parents and has only her brother Pierre left and she works as an editor at a publishing house Gr millon employs a less is tactic with Camille s side of the story ensuring that Louis story takes centre stage and doesn t get overshadowed by anything from the present in fact I sometimes forgot all about Camille which actually made it easy to switch between the two The book also used the visual device of drastically different fonts Camille s first person sections were set in something like Arial while Louis letters were in our standard bookish font much easier on the eyes tooThe parallels between what Camille s going through in her own life and the events that unfold in Louis story allow Camille and the reader to empathise with both Annie and Madame M ou won t be able to sympathise with Madame M until Falling Through Clouds you hear her side of the story but it will come The theme of motherhood and the pressures not just of society but from our own selves is a strong one throughout As Camille saysI used to think abortion was a good thing progress a woman s free will Now I find myself struggling in a trap which like every trap once smelled sweetly in this case of freedom Progress for women my arse If I keep the child I m guilty vis vis Nicolas who doesn t want it If I get rid of it I am guilty vis vis the baby Abortion may claim to rescue women from the slavery of motherhood but it imposes another form of slavery guilt More than ever it is on our own that we handle or mishandle motherhood p89Through this lens we watch Annie at fifteenears old offer to be a surrogate for the baby Madame M has spent The Art of Acquiring years trying to have having put herself through treatments both bizarre and extreme For much of the book I didn t find the outcome necessarily predictable because it seemed for uite some time that the truth could go either way Still ifou go into this expecting a clever mystery ou will probably be disappointed this isn t so much a puzzle to solve even though that s the structure of it as it is a tragic story of two women in isolation wanting the same thing ready to do something extreme to get it It is this human story that really reaches deep and holds ou fast to the book in fact it s a uick and riveting read one A Menagerie of Heroes you can easily read in a day ifou have the timeWhere the novel suffered a bit was in the writing for a debut novel it s good and Mr. Fix-It yet it s also a bit of a mess at times I got the feeling the translator made an effort to stick to a literal translation as much as possible rather than doing the extra twist of interpretation to make things work better in English Take this paragraph for instance telling us the story of what happened to Annie s father while she was in Paris with Madame MOn 3 June 1940 the guards had thrown them into the prison courtyard The government didn t want them to fall into German hands The Germans would have released them for sure Ever since the Treaty of Non Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union the Communists had been in the Boches good books They were being moved to another prison they had to walk uickly the guards were hitting them shouting at them It was late morning they were on their way through Paris when a guard suddenly pushed him out of the group and told him to get the hell out of there and fast opportunity never knocks twice at anyone s door They had let him go and he still could not fathom why but he was free that was all that mattered pp102 3This made absolutely no sense to me when I was reading the book and when Annie says to Louis in the retelling His story made no sense to me at all I was relieved only she meant that she couldn t believe her parents had become separated that was her sticking point Even later after finally understanding that he had been locked up because he d once been a member of the Communist Party the passage doesn t really make sense It skips over his arrest which is key to understanding the passage since the last we saw of him he was living in his own home with his wife It also skips over the fact that it was the French who d arrested him and why it was a crime For the sake of context these are small details that could easily have been included to prevent me from getting a headacheAside from some odd phrasing and the kind of writing mistakes that are pretty basic but hard to say whom they belong to author or translator the prose was very readable and skips along at a merry pace Sometimes things don t make sense at the time because certain details have been left out which are revealed later on for a A HA moment but when the narration is following a continuous chronological story telling pattern it s smooth and rivetingIt was uite refreshing to have the war in the background rather than the foreground it wasn t about the war at all there just happened to be a war at the time these characters were living their lives Yet it s not an incidental war it impacts the characters and adds a level of tension and atmosphere that gives events an extra layer of fear and uncertaintyThe ending was what really got to me when reading this book After reading the last few lines I actually sat up straight looked up and said something like Oh wow I d become so caught up in the story of Annie and Madame M that I hadn t been thinking of the present day or the possibility that Louis was wrong about what happened to Annie I love that feeling when something comes out of nowhere and hitsou on the head not literally I don t enjoy being hit on the head by anything giving The Complete Photo Guide to Slipcovers you one of those ahhhhh moments of satisfaction at a story well endedEven before that though I enjoyed the murky greyness of Annie and Madame M s stories Neither is a bad or a good woman They are human and they are mothers and the moral murkiness of it all is both thought provoking and entertaining not in the sense that I enjoyed it at their expense but in the sense that I enjoy having my conscience engaged as much as my intellect I d love to go into details but I didn t want to give away any of the plot than my edition s blurb did lest I spoil the reading experience for anyone elseFor all its sometimes confusing narration The Confidant was a haunting and emotional but not at all melodramatic exploration into the hearts of women whoearn for a child and the lengths they ll go to to have that child love it and protect it all told against the backdrop of a war that took the lives of millions of people and the French government s public announcements that the people have a duty to have children I wasn t at all sure about The Confidant when I first picked it up I was happy with the prospect of a story set in wartime France but I was a little worried tha. Raire des Clubs de Lecture Saint Germain en Laye 2011 în Germania primind Euregio Schüler Literaturpreis 2013Paris 1975 După tragicul accident în care şi pierde mama tânăra editoare Camille Werner descoperă printre misivele previzibile un plic ciudat În el o scrisoare de câteva pagini relatând întâmplări din copilăria unor necunoscuţi O eroare a poştei sau poate o scăpare a expeditorului anonim crede Camille Dar pr.
T the story was told through a series of anonymous letters in the 1970s Wasn t that just a little bit contrived Maybe but the opening won me over I got a letter one day a long letter that wasn t signed This was uite an event because I ve never received much mail in my life My letter box had never done than inform me that the sea was warm or that the snow was good so I didn t open it very often Once a week maybe twice in a gloomy week when I hoped that s letter would suddenly change my life completely and utterly like a telephone call can or a trip on the m tro or closing my eyes and counting to ten before opening them again And then my mother died And that was plenty as far as changing my life went Nazo no Kanojo X, Vol. 1 you re mother s deathou can t get much better than that Suddenly that premise made sense A story that could only be told once certain of the protagonists were dead I found myself liking Camille She was bereaved she was pregnant and she was none to sure what she was going to do The letters told the story of a boy and a girl who had grown up in the same village Louis and Annie First they were friends and then they were sweethearts They might have lived happily ever after But then Monsieur and Madame M settled in the village Annie was a talented artist and Madame M noticed her encouraged her took her under her wing They grew close And when Annie discovered the source of Madame M s sadness that she could not carry a child she offered to carry one for her It was an extraordinary offer And it was accepted The relationship between Annie and Monsieur M that was supposed to be dispassionate turned into a passionate love affair Madame M saw that She was jealous she was angry and she wanted revenge Monsieur M was caught up in the war and the two women were left with the child Both of them wanted to be her mother but only one of them could The story was melodramatic and not entirely believable And Tarikh Se Kuch Nahin Sikha yet it worked because the emotions were so strong and because they rang so very true And because it was told so very cleverly with Louis sending letters and pages from Annie s journal and with Camille reading and wondering what it all meant Was it a badly misjudged joke She worked in publishing could it be an extraordinary pitch for a novel Or was it real And if it was real what did that mean about her identity about the mother she had lost The first half of the book had me captivated I was first charmed and then gripped by the story And I was asking the same uestions that Camille was asking herself The story twisted and turned and I kept changing my mind The tension grew Such clever writing In time of course Camille that she was being told a true story that she was being told for a reason and she studied the letters for clues to what that reason might be where she might find the sender She thought she had him pinned down And then a package arrived The journal of Madame M It told the same story from a different perspective and with some telling differences I wondered who if anyone was reliable and I really couldn t decide But I appreciated that there was no black and white only shades of grey and that there would be no easy resolution for Camille I found a great deal to think about friendship love passion motherhood jealousy revenge war regret conseuences The writing was uneven and there was always a hint of contrivance but I believed in the characters and their relationships and I thought the plotting was very well done The ending was very well judged And though the story was flawed I am still thinking about it The plot of this book seemed uite interesting at first but I just could not bring myself to like this bookYes the way the author had handled the different points of view were interestingYes the historical events were uite accurate and interestingYes the plot seemed interestingHere is where it all fell apart The language was messy and whenever there was a change of POV it was often unclear to me which of the characters were actually narrating It might be that the translated Norwegian version of the book had a hand in messing up thelanguage but I can t say for sure It ruined the flow of the story for me at leastWorst however was the infinite stupidity of the characters in the book There was such a total lack of communication and honesty between all of them on every possible emotional level that I kept wanting to scream at them and toss the book away Maybe there are people who are so dysfunctional out there that they are unable to properly communicate with anybody but for all of the characters in the entire book to lack that exact same ability seems idiotic to meNo one seems capable of telling the truth until after they are dead or before it s too lateIt simply annoyed me to no end Find this and other reviews at I had such high hopes for Helene Gr millon s The Confidant but this book didn t work for me at all From the first pages I struggled with this one pushing myself to finish it for the sole purpose of being able to say it didn t kick my assTo be fair part the problem has to do with my reasons for picking up the book in the first place I routinely browse the New Release shelves at my local library and got really excited when I discovered what appeared in part to be a WWII era story set in occupied France I love the time period and couldn t resist bringing the book home with me Unfortunately the aspects I d looked forward to the most were largely trivialized The story is so character driven that the conflict fades to the background Where I d hoped for hard hitting historic fiction I got a melodrama set in Paris during the 1930s and 40s Once I realized my error I tried to to judge the book on what it is rather than what I hoped it would be but here too I had tremendous difficulty Despite the provocative situational drama the characters are extraordinarily thin I couldn t relate to them which made it practically impossible to rouse much interest in their respective fates The nail in the coffin however was the style in which The Confidant is written I don t know if it suffers the same issues in the original French but the English translation lacks any sort of transition between character point of view or time period Honestly I spent half my reading struggling to determine who was talking and to what period of the story their narrative referred I wanted a novel I could get lost in not one that made me fight for every inch but that is exactly what I had to do with this book Not one I enjoyed and one I would be exceedingly hard pressed to recommend A book that will stay with me for a long time The themes motherhood love betrayal desperation etc touched upon in the book were very thought provoking Gr millon did a wonderful job of leading me to despise Madame M in the first portion of the book Annie s portion and then within the first few pages of Madame M s portion I found myself not only sympathizing with her but understanding herOne thing I think Gr millon did especially well was to make me think on that saying from childhood There are always two sides to the same story Or perhaps perspectives but the point remains thatou really don t know everything about a story or situation until چهار تیاتر you hear the stories from all involved And even thenou must consider whether the teller has omitted or changed details for their own reason. Imul plic e doar începutul unui şir de scrisori care filă cu filă deapănă povestea a două iubiri imposibile şi a nenumărate vieţi sfărâmate Încetul cu încetul Camille înţelege că teribila taină pe care vrea să i o împărtăşească autorul anonim o priveşte chiar pe ea În acest roman care are suflul marilor istorisiri Hélène Grémillon asociază pasiunea cu suspansul psihologic într un admirabil stil literar.
Hélène Grémillon was born in 1977 She has degrees in literature and history and was a broadcast and press journalist before becoming a full time writer The Confidant is her first novel She lives in Paris with her partner singer and songwriter Julien Clerc and their child She is working on her next novel