A day late and not much to show for the past week. One of the downsides of working nights is not getting much done other than sleeping, but I did manage a book and a movie.
April in Paris – Michael Wallner (Set during 1940s)
When people on Paris’s bustling streets look at Michael Roth, they see little more than a Parisian student, a quietly spoken young man with a book under his arm, handsome but guarded. What they do not realize is that he is carrying a painful secret, one that he cannot even reveal to the woman he loves.
For Michael is no ordinary Frenchman but a German. He has been sent to Paris to assist the Nazis in dealing with Resistance fighters. Desperate to escape his daily life, he steals into the world of the oppressed Parisians, and into the path of Chantal. But as Michael falls for the bookseller’s beautiful daughter, he discovers that a person’s past always catches up with them. Soon he will be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice and choose between his country, his life and his destiny.
I wanted to like this more than I did. Most of my problems with this book stem from not buying the romance. Written in the first-person, we’re told by by Roth often enough of his feelings for Chantal, but I just couldn’t ‘see’ it. The whole affair seemed rather cold, not some extraordinary life-changing romance. A bit of an issue when it underpins several major decisions by him. I would have liked to have seen a little more internal conflict.
Bad Blood (1982, set 1941)
Based on a true event, New Zealand farmer Stan Graham after a police dispute regarding the confiscation of firearms kills 7 men and flees into bush sparking a 12 day manhunt.
In parts it was easy to feel some sympathy for Graham – the isolation he and his family experienced, his increasing paranoia which wasn’t helped by his wife, the poverty and less than supportive neighbours. But, I certainly didn’t want him to triumph. It disturbs me that in parts of the country he was lauded as a bit of a hero.