PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Roger Vailland


Email this review


A story of the maquis in the year 1944, this is not a conventional drama of underground operations although considerable momentum is maintained, but one which combines the physical with the ideological, intellectualizes much of the motivation behind the resistance. In explicit, if affecting, terms- here is the anatomy of conspiracy- the ""endless solitary wandering with all kinds of thoughts and memories and plans and secret loves... interminable waiting.. Waiting while your friends get shot. Waiting, for betrayal, for arrest"". In particular it tells of Marat, alias Francois Lamballe, once a drug addict, once a defeatist, now a revolutionary who save for his symbaritic, sensual inclinations might have been a communist. It is also the story of Mathilde, his former mistress, now destroyed by her love for Dani whom she had turned in: Caracalla, 23, and head of the Gaullist underground; Frederic, a young Communist, weak, virginal, and the ultimate victim of Mathilde's dubious stratagom with the Germans in her attempt to save Dani.... A concentrated story of lives of external danger, inner tension, this is harsh, taut, effective.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1948
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin