The Foundling’s War
“Our lives would be all the richer if we read a Michel Deon novel a modern classic.” William Boyd
“Quiet, wryly funny prose . . . a delight.” Independent on Sunday
“It is shamefully parochial of us that this eminent writer has been so ignored by the anglophone world.” Sunday Times
In this sequel to the acclaimed novel The Foundling Boy, Michel Deon’s hero comes to manhood and learns about desire and possession, sex and love, and the nuances of allegiance that war necessitates.
In the aftermath of French defeat in July 1940, twenty-year-old Jean Arnaud and his ally, the charming conman Palfy, are hiding out at a brothel in Clermont-Ferrand, having narrowly escaped a firing squad. At a military parade, Jean falls for a beautiful stranger, Claude, who will help him forget his adolescent heartbreak but bring far more serious troubles of her own.
Having safely reached occupied Paris, the friends mingle with art smugglers and forgers, social climbers, showbiz starlets, bluffers, swindlers, and profiteers, French and German, as Jean learns to make his way in a world of murky allegiances. But beyond the social whirl, the war cannot stay away forever. . . .
Michel Deon is a member of the Academie francaise. Born in Paris in 1919, he is the author of more than fifty works.
REVIEWS FOR THE FOUNDLING BOY 'The general air of light irony and the innocent-abroad subject suggests roots in Candide and Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling. As in Fielding's book, Jean suffers at the hands of a smooth hypocrite; after childhood, the narrative becomes picaresque, and sexual promiscuity and unknown parentage introduce the tense possibility of incest. Like Fielding, Deon often addresses the reader directly, suggesting we should keep an eye on characters because they will pop up later.' The Sunday Times 'A delight.' The Independent on Sunday ' The Foundling Boy -- terrible title, lovely book -- is a big-hearted coming-of-age shaggy-dog story that describes the interwar boyhood and youth of Jean Arnaud, raised backstairs on a Normandy estate after his abandonment one night in 1919.' The Spectator 'This vivid portrait of the inter-war years opens in 1919 when a baby boy is found abandoned outside the house of Albert and Jeanne Arnaud. Raised by the Arnauds, Jean also attracts the attention of a family of local landowners. Life begins, however, when he strikes out on his own. Julian Evans's robust translation does justice to Deon's classic period piece.' The Independent
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