Monsieur Le Commandant, by Romain Slocombe. Gallic, £8.99


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The Independent Culture

A French Academician, Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer revealing his illicit passion for his Jewish daughter-in-law, so placing her fate in the commandant’s hands.

In this harrowing epistolary novel, elegantly translated by Jesse Brown, Slocombe inhabits the mind-set of a Catholic intellectual, tracing his journey from First World War hero to outspoken supporter of Nazism and the Vichy government. As Husson admits: “I’ve have never indulged in the romantic delusion that writers ought to be saints or heroes to be worshiped at the altar”.