THE GREAT SWINDLE ~
Book review and technical detail THE GREAT SWINDLE ~ Pierre Lemaitre
|Technical detail of THE GREAT SWINDLE ~|
|Title||THE GREAT SWINDLE ~|
|Category||Fiction & Literature|
|Publishing Date||1st January, 1970|
The battlefields of World War I accord bearing to two different, but related, schemes to blackmail afflicted French families out of their money. It’s November 1918, and chat is that an ceasefire is nigh: French soldiers on the battlefield are actively acquainted that they may be activity home. Thus it's with abundant agitation that Albert Maillard finds himself aback in the action afterward the cutting of two soldiers, "an old man and a kid," who were beatific on a assay mission by Lt. Henri d'Aulney-Pradelle. Back Albert comes beyond their bodies in the afterwards battle, he realizes the administrator attempt his own men in the aback to restart the fighting, but afore he can acquaint anyone, he finds himself active animate afterwards d'Aulney-Pradelle pushes him into a carapace atrium that again collapses on him. That's back he meets adolescent soldier Edouard Pericourt, who address him out and resuscitates him and who is again blood-soaked himself back he catches a allotment of armament in the face. The armament anguish is terrible—it "ripped abroad his lower jaw; beneath his adenoids is a broad void"—but Edouard, the aesthetic son of a affluent man, refuses to acquiesce any blazon of reconstructive surgery. He lets his ancestors anticipate he's asleep so they won't accept to see him with his abhorrent injury. Albert keeps him animate and, back he's appear from the hospital, stays with him out of a faculty of duty. Together, the two men concoct a betray to abutment themselves by affairs war memorials they don't intend to build, while d'Aulney-Pradelle, who has affiliated Edouard’s sister, Madeleine, becomes complex in addition betray to rebury French soldiers in undersized coffins. Lemaitre’s account is anxiously researched, and best of the story’s amount lies in its actual authenticity. The book is abundant too continued and generally repetitive, and the appearance of Edouard is both camp and unsympathetic: Lemaitre never establishes a acumen why he would debris added medical intervention. The battlefield and hospital scenes back Lemaitre’s ability of imagery, but his characters—Edouard in particular—fail to agitate abundant affinity in readers.
The year is 1918, the war on the Western Front all but over. An ambitious officer, Lieutenant Henry D'Aulnay-Pradelle, sends two soldiers over the top and then surreptitiously shoots them in the back to incite his men to attack the German lines. When another of D'Aulnay-Pradelle's soldiers, Albert Maillard, reaches the bodies and discovers how they died, the lieutenant shoves him into a shell hole to silence him. Albert is rescued by fellow soldier, the artist Edouard Pericourt, who takes a bullet in the face. The war ends and both men recover, but Edouard is permanently disfigured, and fakes his death to prevent his family from seeing him as a cripple. In gratitude for Edouard's rescue, Albert becomes the injured man's companion and caregiver. Finding that the postwar gratitude for the soldiers' service is nothing more than lip-service to an empty idea, the two men scramble to survive, ultimately devising a scam to take money for never-to-be-built war memorials from small towns. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Pradelle has married Edouard's sister Madeline and is running a scam of his own that involves the exhumation of war victims. In this sorrowful, heart-searching novel, the interwoven lives of these three men create a tapestry of the human condition as seen through the lens of war, revealing brutality and compassion, heroism and cowardice, in equal measure.
Reviews of THE GREAT SWINDLE ~ written by Pierre Lemaitre. You can submit your own review to firstname.lastname@example.org. Suggestions be welcome.