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The Confidant: A Novel by Helene Gremillon
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The Confidant: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Helene Gremillon

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2291950,561 (3.62)5
Member:BrokeBookBank
Title:The Confidant: A Novel
Authors:Helene Gremillon
Info:Penguin Books (2012), Edition: 1, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:giveaways, free, contemporary, mystery, historical

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The Confidant by Helene Gremillon

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» See also 5 mentions

English (12)  Dutch (3)  French (2)  Norwegian (1)  German (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A gripping, intriguing story of the intertwined lives of 3 very different women, set in France just before the country is overrun by the German army and modern day.
Letters start to be delivered to Camille from someone unknown to her and so begins an absorbing tale of friendship and loss that held me to the end.
There was one question which didn't get answered - who was the Confidant?
I was given a digital copy of this book by the publisher Gallic via Netgalley in return for an honest unbiased review. ( )
  Welsh_eileen2 | Apr 14, 2016 |
Brilliant, I just had to keep reading and the twists in the plot kept on coming right until the last page. The writer is adept at handling the unreliable narrator. Just when you thought you had the story clear an alternative narrative voice would reveal a new piece of information. I highly recommend this book. ( )
  HelenBaker | Dec 11, 2014 |
Oma arvio: On vuosi 1975 Pariisissa. Camille menettää äitinsä ja saa postitse paljon surunvalitteluja. Osa kirjeistä kertoo tarinaa, joka sijoittuu toisen maailmansodan aikaan ja Camille ihmettelee ovatko kirjeet todellakin tarkoitettu hänelle. Kirjeissä ei ole allekirjoitusta ja ne kertovat mystisten Louisin ja Annien rakkaustarinaa. Tästä muodostuu kirjan rakenne: nykyhetkestä ja menneisyydestä. Kirjassa on selkeä juoni ja ikäänkuin takaumina toimivat kirjeet tuovat jopa pientä jännitystä tarinaan. Kertoja vaihtuu samalla kuin aikakin, välillä kertojana on nainen ja välillä mies. Se tuo tarinaan syvyyttä. Toisaalta tämä on melko lyhyt tarina eikä se jää pitkäksi aikaa mieleen. ( )
  Elina.Kristiina | Jan 6, 2014 |
In Paris in 1975, Camille’s mother has recently died and she is struggling to cope, when she receives the first of a series of long confessional letters from a man called Louis, recalling a love story set in the 1930s and 1940s. The Second World War and the German occupation of France are a backdrop to the story rather than a main part of it.

Louis loved Annie from when they were at school together. Annie became friends with a wealthy woman who moved to their village. Madame M is desperate to have a baby and somehow persuades Annie to help her. A complicated, tragic story unfolds.

I enjoyed reading this novel and working out the story, but I didn’t find most of the characters entirely convincing – Annie seems too good to be true, and Madame M too scheming and unpleasant. Various references to historical events of the time seem to add little to the story, which is not about the political history of the time.

With these reservations, this is still worth reading, and I would probably read another book by the author. ( )
  elkiedee | Sep 23, 2013 |
At first I was not sure if the framing device (having Camille receive the letters in installments, instead of just telling the story that was in the letters) was entirely necessary, but by the end I accepted it. (Not a fan of the font used for Camille present-day story, however; fortunately, most of the story is in Louis's letters or Madame M's story, as transcribed by Louis.)

Discovering the story along with Camille, one cannot help but sympathize with Annie, feel sorry for Louis, and be somewhat horrified by Madame M. A concise, well-written, compelling story that captures the feel of the time(s) and place(s).

Quotes:

Annie, who was unsociable by nature, seemed to have found in that young woman the type of person one meets only once in a lifetime: the one who can replace everyone else. (Louis, 28)

Love is a mysterious principle, falling out of love more mysterious still. One can know why one loves but never, truly, why one has ceased to love. (Louis, 28)

Where love is concerned...you mustn't ask, mustn't beg. Don't ever try to make people love you the way you want them to love you, that's not it, that's not true love. You have to let people love you their own way... (Annie's mother, 46)

"Don't you think, Louis, that in other people's lives there is the past which matters and the past which doesn't matter?" (Annie, 103)

To be sure, this [infertility] book dated from 1885, but it was still the leading reference book. There was not a single contemporary book on the subject....At that time, advice of this nature was the only remedy available for those who wanted a child when the body itself refused to comply with the wishes of one's soul. Theories only become archaic the moment new ones replace them, and for almost sixty years nothing at all had been written about infertile women. (Madame M., 130, 133)

I was neither devout not a regular churchgoer, but I was simply and foolishly superstitious, that was all I was capable of. Superstition, unlike faith, is for those who need to believe but cannot give. (Madame M., 140)

I was in that part of the soul that is unacquainted with the body, perhaps that part of us that survives after death. (Madame M., 148)

I had driven him into a corner with all the sadism of an enemy. I had forgotten that I loved him. (Madame M. re Paul, 152)

I felt neither fear nor distress at the sight of her suffering, that's just how it was, empathy stops where rivalry begins. (Madame M. re Annie, 187)

Only people who have no pride at all will go on clinging to a heart that has been taken... (Madame M., 214)

In certain specific circumstances a particular facet of the self comes to light, only to vanish again instantly the moment the circumstances change. (Madame M., 226)

...but love and clear-sightedness never go together
and Elisabeth always believed the opposite (Camille, 239)
( )
  JennyArch | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Helene Gremillonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alegre, Alfonso SebastiánTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Through a series of condolence letters from an unknown correspondent, Camille Werner learns she may be the daughter of Annie and Louis, two teenage friends who lived in a small French town on the cusp of WWII. Set in Paris, 1975.

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