AN ANCIENT ENEMY by Pierre Moinot


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This quietly moving import from France has the strength of the lovely Italian landscape where it takes place. Lortier and Jerome, in an Italian Village to which they had come with their women for a holiday, live with fear and pain as with an infirmity that chastens and prods. Lortier has fled from memories of the war to the love of his wife Francoise, yet even in that love he was suspicious of entrapment, a snuffing out of freedom. Jerome has isolated himself from love, but not from the pain of human cruelty. At first when Jerome's enemy, who had crushed his shoulder, killed and tortured a friend, appears, Jerome and Lortier feel that the moment absolves years of suffering and pursuit, leaving them free for action. The execution is prepared. However, the sea, which had given Lorier a thread of understanding of his own mortal condition, the innocence of Claude who loved Jerome, the fellowship of the men of the village, all offer a life that demands participation and reverence, a life in which a man may immerse himself and still be free. The tyrant of fear becomes a useless vestige of the past, and in sun, sea and humanity the ancient enemy is routed. The author has created a landscape of radiance and beauty, and sounded a Wordsworthian note for the endurance of man.

Publisher: Doubleday