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Where I Left My Soul [Kindle Edition]

Jérôme Ferrari , Geoffrey Strachan
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: £4.99 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
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Book Description

It is 1957, the savage Algerian War rages on. Captain André Degorce is reunited with Lieutenant Horace Andreani, with whom he experienced the horrors of combat and imprisonment in Vietnam. Captives now pass from Degorce's hands into Andreani's: one-time victims have become torturers.

Andreani has fully embraced his new status, but Degorce has lost all sense of himself. He only finds peace when he is with Tahar, a commander in the National Liberation Army who is held in a cell that now acts as a confessional, the jailor opening up to his prisoner.


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Review

'shocking and perversely beautiful morality play' Irish Times.

'it invites questions that can have only uncomfortable answers' The Scotsman.

'the story has a doomy propulsion, with its elegant flashbacks and adumbrations, vivid, economical scene-setting, and fascinating relationships at its heart ... blackly brilliant' Guardian.

'The most powerful novel I have read this year' Michael Holroyd.

'A powerful short novel, taking us from Buchenwald and Vietnam to Algeria, and leading to the conclusion that those who suffer go on to cause most suffering' New Statesman.

'This examination of the corrosive effect of torture as practised by officers of the French army during the Algerian war is brilliantly and movingly done' Allan Massie.

'an unsparing examination of how violence begets violence' The Independent.

'As elegant as a knife blade and as deadly, this shocking and magnificent novella explores the evil men do' Irish Times.

'uncomfortable and illuminating' Financial Times.

From the Inside Flap

He was interned at Buchenwald during the German occupation and imprisoned by the Vietnamese when France's armies in the Far East collapsed. Now Capitaine Degorce is an interrogator himself, and the only peace he can find is in the presence of Tahar, a captive commander in the very organization the is charged with eliminating. But his confessor is no saint: Tahar stands accused of indiscriminate murder. Lieutenant Andreani - who served with Degorce in Vietnam and revels in his new role as executioner - is determined to see a noose around his neck. This is Algeria, 1957. Blood, sand, dust, heat - perhaps the bitterest colonial conflict of the last century. Degorce will learn that in times of war, no matter what a man has suffered in his past, there is no limit to the cruelty he is capable of.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1308 KB
  • Print Length: 161 pages
  • Publisher: MacLehose Press (4 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0089XJW4K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #281,575 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary work of insight and compassion 26 Oct. 2012
By Chips
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a compact and yet lyrical novel. A beautifully crafted novel of ideas. It deals with tough subjects, lost men, and the implacable forces of history. Yet, not unlike the deft and humane short novels of Joseph Roth, Mr Ferrari's compassion is boundless and at the same time quietly and utterly convincing. The style is spare, the insights precise and often unsettling, and the translation by Mr Strachan ( whose translations of Makine obviously recommend him) has wonderful simplicity too.

It deserves a wide readership. I hope you find it as significant and inspiring as I did.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Humanity and Empathy. 12 Dec. 2012
By ACB(swansea) TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Jerome Ferrari's novel (translated by Geoffrey Strachan) is one of poacher turned gamekeeper under battle conditions. The irony of two military compatriots who were imprisoned victims of torture find themselves on the other side of the bars during the Algerian War of the mid-1950's.

Lieutenant Andreanni equates his own horrific experiences to the interrogation and torture after the capture of the leader of the Algerian rebels, Tahar. He takes this task as some sort of routine procedure to a captured enemy. His colleague Capitaine Degroce, his fellow captive now torturer follows the book of 'extreme interrogation' until he begins to ask questions of himself and the morality of his actions. This leads to discussions and differences of opinion between Andreanni and Degroce as to the reasoning of the methodical degradation of Tahar.

There is an inevitable conflict that arises beteween the two, with recollections and flash-back experiences to their own captivity and inhumane treatment and what it achieved now that they are replaying a role-reversal on Tahar. The relationship becomes more complex as Degorce finds solace and sympathy for Tahar whereas Andreanni, having a close relationship with Degorce, continues on the malicious, sadistic road of victim interrogation as the way it should be. As Tahar states 'a martyr is a thousand times more useful than a fighter'. Retention, detention and torture are still widespread. Ferrari portrays a diverse view of the mix of inhumane and compassion that befalls the perpetrators of these evil deeds with their associated inner motives and doubts.

A captivating and horrifying insight of captivity, 'interrogation', and torture. It hardly needs me to say that these trials and tribulations persist throughout 'civilisation'. An unforgettable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Where I Left My Soul 9 Dec. 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Jerome Ferrari is a great writer. This work is both passionate and world weary but full of complex emotion and beauty. At times it reads like a work of reportage mined out from the darkest places of human nature; lost men fighting a lost cause where everything is mired in cruelty and failure.

Where I Left My Soul is a profound insight into the world of the torturer and the cost to the individual of inhabiting such a place.

It is a rare privilege to read such a disturbing haunting masterpiece, such a raw fragment of the human soul.
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5.0 out of 5 stars War destroys its victims and its perpetrators 26 Feb. 2013
Format:Hardcover
André Degorce is a child of the French Enlightenment. He studied advanced mathematics. He is aware of the deeper moral insights and meanings of Christian religion. But an unrelenting sequence of brutalisation starting in the Gestapo station in Besancon, then in Buchenwald concentration camp, through the misery of defeat at Dien Bien Phu and incarceration in a Vietcong re-education camp, then the Algerian war, destroys his soul. Ugly base humanity capable of inflicting atrocity is exposed in him. War is a social organisation that overwhelms enlightenment. There is a brief hope of remission as Degorce tries to treat the Algerian resistance leader Tahar humanely, but he fails as the army machine kills Tahar regardless, and Degorce himself is soon horribly brutalising Robert Clément. This short powerful novel deeply challenges the assumption of human virtue.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing 7 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great writing that reveals a clear sense of the Algerian war and the inhumanity of any kind of torture for any reason.
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