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The Man who Walked through Walls, By Marcel Aymé


This landmark collection of fantastic tales from 1943 may sound whimsical – but their oddity pivots on the grim, if veiled, reality of Paris under German occupation.

Aymé, well-served by Sophie Lewis's assured translation, outwitted the Nazi censors in teasing, troubling gem such as "La Carte" ("Tickets on Time"), in which the authorities decide "to put unproductive consumers to death"; or rather, to curtail their monthly ration of life.

Grasp the context, and Aymé's surreal humour acquires a shadowy depth of field.