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April in Paris by Michael Wallner
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April in Paris (2006)

by Michael Wallner

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2671542,587 (3.42)40
  1. 00
    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (GoST)
    GoST: Another novel set in occupied France with a relationship between a German soldier and a French girl.
  2. 00
    Suite Française by Irène Némirovsky (SqueakyChu)
    SqueakyChu: Another terrific book about German-occupied France during WWII.
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» See also 40 mentions

English (13)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
This was a really great read. It was easy to follow, as in I could read it before bed without losing interest, but it was by no means a "simple" book. I really identified with the main character and I think that the author did a really great job of showing different viewpoints and aspects of war. ( )
  lovelypenny | Feb 4, 2016 |
Audiobook performed by Paul Michael

Roth is a young German army corporal, assigned to Gestapo headquarters in occupied Paris so that he can use his flawless French as an interpreter during interrogations. He’s disturbed by the torture he witnesses, but fulfills his duty as a soldier, accurately translating the words if not the emotions expressed. When not on duty, however, he slips away from his hotel billet, dons civilian clothes and walks the streets of Paris disguised as the Frenchman, Antoine. Being out of uniform, by itself, is a punishable offense, but he crosses the line when he falls for Chantal, the daughter of a bookseller. He does not reveal his true identity to her, and she hides her allegiance to the Resistance.

The reader knows that this star-crossed relationship is bound to end badly, but the way in which Wallner reveals the story kept me in a delirious state of suspense. Make no mistake; this is NOT a hearts-and-flowers romantic escapade, but a gritty and serious novel full of hardship and heartache. There are hints that they’ve been found out, but then they are free to meet. There are several close calls when I was sure that one or the other would be captured and/or killed. Because Roth works for the Gestapo he witnesses and knows the interrogation techniques employed, yet he seems not to remember those ploys when it’s most important. I found myself yelling at the CD player, “It’s a trick!” more than once … and sometimes I was right.

I love how Wallner develops Roth from a naïve, apolitical young man away from home, to a wily, cautious and determined man. He may be beaten but he is not down. On the other hand, I was disappointed in how little he developed the women in this story – Chantal and Anna Rieleck-Sostman (a German woman who runs the Gestapo captain’s office). Despite this, however, I think the book merits five stars; I was captivated from beginning to end and will be talking about it for weeks or months, I’m sure.

Paul Michael does a fine job narrating the audiobook. I don’t speak French but his French sounded pretty good to me. I was glad I had the text handy, however, because I needed to see the written words to puzzle out the French phrases. His pacing was good and he was able to differentiate the characters sufficiently.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
I was pulled in by the cover that seemed to promise a novel of great depth (I know - don't judge a book by its cover...) But this is basically a romance - and an unbelievable one at that - between a German soldier and French Resistance fighter.
Sometimes nicely written, sometimes dreary. Nothing I would recommend. ( )
  Eliz12 | Jul 4, 2012 |
April in Paris explores the moral dilemma of being a soldier in an occupied city, a soldier who has no military ambitions and generally seems indifferent to the political structure of his country. He is assigned to the Gestapo headquarters to work as a translator during the interrogation of prisoners. His escape takes the form of dropping his military uniform every now and then, dressing as a civilian and pretending to be a Frenchman. Sounds harmless enough, but German soldiers were under strict orders never to appear on the streets out of uniform.

During his wanderings, he meets and becomes infatuated with a young French girl. Eventually he realizes that she is in fact working for the Resistance. Although, on the surface a love story, I found this more of a perceptive, intimate look at a young man, torn from his carefree student life, put into a uniform and forced to do things to prove he is a loyal German soldier, things that were destroying his soul. The romantic aspect just didn’t connect with me, they spent very little time with each other, instead, probably due to his loneliness, he built this up in his head to be more than it was.

As we all know every German soldier during World War II was not a Nazi, and I found this an interesting subject to read about. This book is both thought provoking and suspenseful as it delves into one young man’s apathy and transformation as he realizes that during war, one can’t just drift along. Excellently translated from German, April In Paris details life in occupied Paris which makes a fascinating backdrop to this story of both an impossible love and of facing up to your inner convictions. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Apr 1, 2012 |
I'm a sucker for novels of daring-do by the French Resistance, so I enjoyed April in Paris in this vein. It's not particularly well written (it is Wallner's first book), and the plot becomes extremely, almost irritatingly, far-fetched. Despite this it was a fun one night stand.

Corporal Roth is a rather placid young German working as a translator in occupied France. When he is transferred to work for the SS translating the interrogations of French Resistance suspects, Roth begins to show signs of stress. So he decides to escape the pressures by changing into a suit and wandering Paris as Monsieur Antoine. In this guise he meets and falls in love with a beautiful young women named Chantal. I'm sure you can guess at the rest of the plot.

The book reminded me of another, slightly more thoughtful examination of lovers from opposite sides of a conflict. The Girl Who Played Go is set in Manchuria during the Japanese occupation, and the action is a little more subtle. ( )
1 vote labfs39 | May 7, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
The result is a piece of period entertainment that is satisfying if not entirely successful. “April in Paris” lacks the gravitas of, say, Bernhard Schlink’s novel “The Reader.” And it doesn’t achieve the dark foreboding found in the work of Kanon and Furst. Like its protagonist, adrift between two worlds, it can’t quite decide what it wants to be.

 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Wallnerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cullen, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Ik kreeg voor de middagpauze te horen dat ik werd overgeplaatst.
I learned about the transfer before noon.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385519141, Hardcover)

Set in 1943, APRIL IN PARIS is the dramatic story of an impossible love between a German soldier and a French Resistance fighter in occupied Paris.

Roth, a twenty-one-year-old German soldier, has spent most of his time in occupied Paris working in the army’s back offices. But when his superiors learn of his ability to speak accent-free French, he is abruptly transferred to Gestapo headquarters to work as an interpreter during the interrogation of Resistance fighters. Rather than question his role in the Nazi regime, Roth translates with impeccable accuracy as the torture proceeds.

But when his duty ends, Roth slips away from his fellow officers, changes into civilian clothes, and wanders aimlessly through Paris disguised as his alter ego “Antoine.” One day he is drawn into an antiquarian bookshop and becomes enchanted with the bookseller’s beautiful daughter, Chantal. The two begin to meet and fall in love before Roth has the courage to reveal his true identity, nor to discover Chantal’s.

When a bomb placed in a popular nightclub by the Resistance kills several high-ranking German officers, Roth finds himself not in his role as translator but as the suspect of the SS’s interrogation.

April in Paris is one of those rare books in which the emotional force of the love story is matched by page-turning suspense. Written in an elegant and arresting style, it is a thrilling novel by a promising new writer, who has brought the reality of a war-torn past very much to the present.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:04 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Working as an interpreter at Gestapo headquarters in occupied Paris, Roth, a young German soldier, falls in love with Chantal, the daughter of an antiquarian bookshop owner, and finds himself on the opposite side of his Nazi colleagues.

» see all 6 descriptions

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