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April in Paris by Michael Wallner

April in Paris (2006)

by Michael Wallner

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2601343,918 (3.39)39
  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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Showing 1-5 of 11 (next | show all)
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 |
Here's a book I knew nothing about prior to reading its title. The book title grabbed me because I was looking to read a book for a challenge titled (appropriately enough) "April in Paris" in which the book needed to be set in Paris. I found the book on BookMooch, read a few pages on Amazon, and decided I would like it.

The setting is Paris during the German occupation of France during WWII. Corporal Roth is a German soldier whose job it was to translate from French to German for the officers who were torturing prisoners into revealing secrets. Roth tried not to let his job overwhelm him and took solace by secretly assuming the identity of a French civilian. He even named himself Antoine and tried to befriend a few people who lived in Paris. This, however, did not work to his advantage and soon he found that his difficulties multiplying.

This book reminded me a lot of the setting in Suite Francaise, Irene Nemirovsky's novel of German-occupied France, although the story is very different. Wallner's book deals mostly with Germans capturing and torturing members of the French Resistance.

A reader who knows no French should beware of the large amount of French narrative in this book. It takes place mostly in conversations, but I felt compelled to look up the translation while reading because I was interested in picking up details of the story.

I'm not sure I believe this story completely in the way it's told. It's a love story that is based on two people not spending much time together at all. In addition, I'm not certain I believe that Corporal Roth could have physically done what was described in the book. Nevertheless, I found this a most engaging story and was glad that this book just came into my possession by chance. ( )
2 vote SqueakyChu | Apr 11, 2011 |
Corporal Roth is a German soldier stationed in France. His primary responsibility is the translation of interrogation sessions of any French citizens believed to be conspirators against the Germans. He carries out his job without much thought to what is asked of him but he longs to return to his former posting which was less gory. In the meantime, he sneaks out of his hotel almost every day and dresses as an every day French man and mingles with the local population(which is against the law). While on these illegal excursions, he meets and falls in love with the local book keeper's daughter, Chantal. He soon discovers that she is a revolutionary and he gets implicated in a bombing that she and her compatriots organized. Unfortunately, his secret is discovered after this incident and he becomes a resident in the prison where he had once translated others cries.

This first part of this book was amazing and I read with real enjoyment. The descriptions of Paris under occupation were absolutely fascinating and gave a sense of what life may have been like for an occupied population. Corporal Roth was a very sympathetic character whose decisions and well being were of major concern to me. But something seemed to have happened somewhere along the way and the book got dull and predictable. The love story was not at all compelling and there was nothing that transpired between Roth and Chantal that made me understand Roth's undying love for Chantal. Chantal seemed to vacillate between what looked like indifference to acquiescence. What was so special about Chantal, a woman he barely knew, that would lead Roth to risk his own safety to save hers. By the end, I was left disappointed. A book that started off so well ended up feeling like its potential was never realized. None of the characters were developed beyond paltry descriptions and I was left in the dark as to who they were and why they behaved as they did. I did not hate the book but I was definitely not in love and its not a book that I would ever pick up again. ( )
  TrishNYC | Dec 5, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 11 (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.


» Add other authors (19 possible)

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.

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