French subscription literature
15. Un secret
SUBSCRIPTION NOW INCLUDES WEBINAR RECORDING ON ANALYTICAL WRITING FOR THE TITLE AND DEDICATED 22 PAGE BOOKLET
Reasons to study the work
Philippe Grimbert is a psychologist and the events related in the story are partially autobiographical. He was encouraged to write the book when he came across the tomb of a dog belonging to the daughter of the collaborationist French leader Laval; it occurred to him that many of the Jews who had been deported had left no trace, unlike this pet. He wanted to ensure that this didn't happen to his own family.
The interest of the work
Not surprising that this fascinating novel contains no dialogue: it is written from the perspective of an adult who until his late adolescence lived a lie. The narrator who has no name, deliberately, describes what he thinks is his family story embracing the love story of his parents who when war came took refuge in the unoccupied zone before returning to Paris to continue where they left off. Certainly there are puzzling circumstances which populate the narrator's early life like the imaginary brother who alternately protects and torments him.
Things change when the narrator comes home after an altercation at school during the showing of a film about the horror of the concentration camps. A family friend takes it on herself to gradually reveal the real circumstances of his parents romance and what actually happened when the family took refuge away from Paris.