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On Leave: A Novel by Daniel Anselme
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On Leave: A Novel

by Daniel Anselme

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An amazing little book which so effectively captures in a few short chapters the alienation of three conscripts into the french army during the Algerian independence struggle. This is not an account of war, the book covers a period of ten days whilst the soldiers are on leave and return to their Paris homes. Unable to relate to, or be related to by, their families and friends; numbed by their growing sense of dread at their imminent return to Algeria, they slide around Paris like ducks on a frozen pond. Very powerful. 6 February 2017 ( )
  alanca | Feb 6, 2017 |
It was easy for me to relate to the premise for this short novel. I am the daughter of a man who was taken from his parent's home at age 18 and shipped to the South Pacific during WWII and found his adulthood amid the shocking horrors of war. This book tells of three servicemen who return home for a week's leave and the disfunctional relationships and abhorrent treatment they are subjected to from their families and countrymen. I saw this shameful treatment of our Vietnam Vets in my youth. Apathy is not an answer. When will it end? My thanks to the author, the translation and Goodreads for a complimentary copy of this work. ( )
  musichick52 | Jul 14, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Daniel Anselmeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bellos, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865478953, Hardcover)

A long-lost French novel in which three soldiers return home from an unpopular, unspeakable war

When On Leave was published in Paris in 1957, as France’s engagement in Algeria became ever more bloody, it told people things they did not want to hear. It vividly described what it was like for soldiers to return home from an unpopular war in a faraway place. The book received a handful of reviews, it was never reprinted, it disappeared from view. With no outcome to the war in sight, its power to disturb was too much to bear.
     Through David Bellos’s translation, this lost classic has been rediscovered. Spare, forceful, and moving, it describes a week in the lives of a sergeant, a corporal, and an infantryman, each home on leave in Paris. What these soldiers have to say can’t be heard, can’t even be spoken; they find themselves strangers in their own city, unmoored from their lives. Full of sympathy and feeling, informed by the many hours Daniel Anselme spent talking to conscripts in Paris, On Leave is a timeless evocation of what the history books can never record: the shame and the terror felt by men returning home from war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:18 -0400)

"When On Leave was published in Paris in 1957, as France's engagement in Algeria became ever more bloody, it told people things they did not want to hear. It vividly described what it was like for soldiers to return home from an unpopular war in a faraway place. The book received a handful of reviews, it was never reprinted, it disappeared from view. With no outcome to the war in sight, its power to disturb was too much to bear. Through David Bello's translation, this lost classic has been rediscovered. Spare, forceful, and moving, it describes a week in the lives of a sergeant, a corporal, and an infantryman, each home on leave in Paris. What these soldiers have to say can't be heard, can't even be spoken; they find themselves strangers in their own city, unmoored from their lives. Full of sympathy and feeling, informed by the many hours Daniel Anselme spent talking to conscripts in Paris, On Leave is a timeless evocation of what the history books can never record: the shame and the terror felt by men returning home from war--… (more)

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