Monsieur le Commandant

Monsieur le Commandant

by Romain Slocombe, Jesse Browner

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‘The story of France’s anti-Semitism is one much told by historians: it has seldom been written about so powerfully by a novelist.’ The Spectator

French Academician and Nazi sympathiser Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer in the autumn of 1942.

Tormented by an illicit passion for Ilse, his German daughter-in-law, Husson has taken a decision that will devastate several lives, including his own. The letter is intended to explain his actions. It is a dramatic, sometimes harrowing, story that begins in the years leading up to the war, when following the accidental drowning of his daughter, Husson’s previously gilded life begins to unravel. And through Husson’s confession, Romain Slocombe gives the reader a startling picture of a man’s journey: from pillar of the French Establishment and World War One hero, to outspoken supporter of Nazi ideology and the Vichy government.


‘Harrowing epistolary novel, elegantly translated by Jesse Browner’ The Independent

'A brilliantly told, unflinching account’ The Lady‘A great read that angers and educates in turns, letting readers have access to the perspective of collaborators during World War II, which is not often depicted in literature.’ Wales Arts Review

‘Probably one of the most significant novels of this year’ L’Express

‘[Slocombe’s] virtuosity and manner of storytelling reveal true talent … Go out and buy a copy of Monsieur le Commandant as soon as you can. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.’ Le Point

‘The novel is, in a unique way, a powerful piece of Resistance literature.’ La Vie

‘A sobering reminder … a gripping narrative’ A Discount Ticket to Everywhere

‘Fascinating, beguiling, engaging … practically the entire battlefield of human emotions is explored’ These Little Words

‘A brave, compelling novel’ A Life in Books

‘A gripping account of wartime life … must be read’ On the Shelf

‘A very powerful book’ Ragdoll Books

‘A disturbing yet gripping book. It reads swiftly yet its impact will linger long after you’ve finished with it.’ Books & Livres 

‘The ending gave me shivers and kept me up thinking long after I’d finished it.’ Jess Haigh

‘Reads smoothly and swiftly … a book which lingers’ Jenny Messenger

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781908313645
Publisher: Gallic Books
Publication date: 09/16/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
File size: 420 KB

About the Author

Romain Slocombe began his career as an illustrator working on comics and counter-culture magazines such as Métal hurlant in the late seventies and early eighties. As an artist, he was closely involved with the punk Bazooka collective, having studied alongside many of its members at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. In 1983 he wrote a graphic novel, produced by the same publisher as Métal hurlant. He went on to write many books for children and young adults, returning to novels for adults after his numerous trips to Japan in the 1990s. Un été japonais was published in 2000 as part of Gallimard’s série noire, inaugurating a prolific writing period which saw another 15 novels published. Common themes run through Slocombe’s various fields of work, with the different artistic disciplines – visual and literary – informing one another. His interest in pre-1960 photography, cars and clothing allowed him to build a very clear picture in his mind when writing Monsieur le Commandant, his first novel to be published in English. War, eroticism and medical fetishism, in particular the notion of female beauty under threat, are photographic interests which have also made their way into his writing.

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