SUMMER 1914 by Roger Martin du Gard


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This is a problem child. Roger Martin du Gard is a Nobel Prize Winner; The Thibaults take its place with Men of Good Will as one of the monumental works of modern French literature (published here in one volume in 1936). This new volume picks up where the other left off, after the death of the old man, and follows Antoine, the doctor, now owner of the house and the mantle of his father -- and Jacques, younger son who had run away from it all and turned socialist and journalist in Switzerland. Both are dissatisfied emotionally -- but Jacques eventually finds his fate linked with his Jenny too late to do them any good. He sees France unprepared, indifferent, unaware of what is happening at her very gates (does this ring a bell?), and tries to arouse her. When war breaks, Jacques stands fast on his faith that the united front of Socialism can bring peace, and loses his life. And Antoine dies lingeringly of lung disease caused by gassing, writing the diary of his last days is he sees things he had not understood before. The value of the book lies in the picture of the old France of 1914, before the war. It seems wrongly timed -- too late.

Publisher: Viking