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This, to my mind, is one of the best novels by this author as the narrative is hauntingly moving and authentic whilst not being too simplified as I found "Monsieur Ibrahim et les Fleurs du Coran" which I have also reviewed. There is also an audio book of "L'enfant de Noe" but it is quite expensive. The story begins with the ten-year-old Jewish boy having to parade every Sunday in a refuge, La Villa Jaune, in the hope of being recognised by relatives but not knowing if his parents are still alive. There is warmth and compassion in the narrative but it is never sentimental even though Joseph suffers many hardships and disappointments. It does bring this period of Nazi terror alive in its detail and yet there are touches of humour such as when Joseph thinks that "le pere Pons" might be connected with "la pierre ponce." He forms close and unusual relationships throughout the book and we are anxious to know the fate of all the people he meets - some are terrible. The French is not too difficult for an English reader as Joseph is the narrator and so this is a good first reader for a student.
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I have reviewed the text of this novel and described the main gist of the narrative there and so will not repeat that. The story is read by the author on this audio book and therefore the tone is authentically how he meant it to sound and feel: it comes alive as it progresses. And - you can't flick ahead to see what happens! But French audio books are expensive and rarely seem much cheaper second hand, even if they can be found. Yet it is a compelling tale and worth the money as, for the student of French, the language in it is not too difficult.
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