Monday, July 24, 2006

The Mercy Room by Gilles Rozier

This was an interesting and disturbing novel about WWII. Set in France, a German language teacher feels ineffectual in aiding the resistance and spends time thinking about, but not becoming, heroic. Eventually, the teacher takes in a young Jewish man, who is hidden away in the cellar, even as the narrators sister is having an affair with a Nazi soldier upstairs. Eventually the narrator and the Jewish man engage in a passionate affair. To make this more interesting the gender of the narrator is never revealed. This is one of those novels that explores subjects not often visited in Holocaust or WWII novels and does make you think. I am not sure this was an entirely successful effort but did do an excellent job of exploring the psyche of a (at least outwardly) cold and unfeeling individual.

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