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France, during and after WWII, examined under a microscope.,
This review is from: The Statement (Paperback)
Both suspenseful and revelatory, Moore's story of the search for 70-year-old Maurice Brossard, a man who believes he acted righteously when he killed fourteen Jews chosen at random in Dombey, France, during World War II, reveals as much about the character of France and Frenchmen as it does about the man who killed in her name. Maurice Brossard, as a young man, was a member of the milice, an active supporter of Marshall Petain and his Vichy government. Believing that the Resistance was anti-France, consisting primarily of Communists intent upon destroying the country's traditional values, specifically the old Catholic values of the conservative church, Brossard was, for many years, afforded protection from prosecution. A resident guest in numerous abbeys and convents, he was financially supported by conservative groups representing both the church and political factions, eventually receiving a pardon by the French President.
Now, accused of crimes against humanity, he is on the run, this time not knowing who it is who hunts him. A multitude of brotherhoods, many of them secret, are revealed in all their nefarious dealings as they seek to restore the glorious heritage they believe to be at the very heart of French civilization. Conservative priests, supporters of Pope Pius XII's position during the war, schismatic groups, political organizations opposed to the chauvinism of DeGaulle, police who have crimes of their own to hide, and politicians whose own pasts are far from innocent all have an interest in Brossard's life--or death. Additionally, Jewish groups, who feel that justice has not been done, seek retribution.
The suspense here is palpable as various groups seek Brossard for their own ends, and the story is full of action, betrayal, and additional murders. What gives this novel depth is that each group fully justifies their positions on ethical, moral, and philosophical grounds. Moore presents a complex story of the complex French character in ways which are unique, and he does so within a framework of a fast-paced, intellectually challenging pursuit. Jewish readers, in particular, will find the language and attitudes reflected here to be especially offensive--and as horrifying as Moore obviously intends them to be. Mary Whipple