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Memoirs Of A French Whore

A simple, straight-faced love story about a brave coward and a scarlet woman drives actor Wilder's touching debut novel. (His memoir, Kiss Me Like a Stranger, appeared last year.) It's 1918, and Paul Peachy, an unassuming train conductor and amateur actor in Milwaukee, finds his marriage has run out of steam, and decides to enlist as a dough boy. At nearly 30, Paul has seen little of the world, as his naïve and candid dispatches from the French trenches make clear. Paul, who speaks German, is brought in to interrogate notorious German spy Harry Stroller. Soon sent into the front line, Paul deserts and, in an extraordinary sequence, passes himself off as Harry Stroller. Taken to the local schloss and treated like royalty by the German officials, Paul is given a French whore, Annie Breton, for comfort, and he gradually comes to care for her once she reveals herself to him more than physically. Despite some ensuing heroism, the game's soon up for Peachy, and the novel takes the form of the final, eloquent notebook of a man still finding out who he is. (Mar.)

Memoirs of a French Whore

There were several things that suited Brasillach for this role. There was his indeterminate sexuality -- it is uncertain if he ever had homosexual relations, but his writing certainly had homoerotic strains, and he was widely believed homosexual by his peers. There was his flamboyant lack of manners, his absolute inability to restrain his sublimely nasty pen (he memorably denounced the Third Republic as ''an old syphilitic whore, stinking of patchouli and yeast infection''). And there was, above all, his status as a writer: visible and vulnerable. His writing made him an obvious target, and his death removed some of the pressure on the French state to dig beneath the surface of the occupation into the foul-smelling layers inhabited by powerful men like Papon, who finally came to trial only in 1998. 041b061a72


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