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  • 9781908313508
Edition details


eBook ISBN

Publication date
16th September 2013


Gallic Books


Extent (number of pages)

Jesse Browner


Worldwide : Exclusive

BIC category

US publication date
18th March 2014



Monsieur le Commandant


French Academician and Nazi sympathiser Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer in the autumn of 1942.

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French Academician and Nazi sympathiser Paul-Jean Husson writes a letter to his local SS officer in the autumn of 1942.

Tormented by an illicit passion for Ilse, his German daughter-in-law, Husson has taken a decision that will devastate several lives, including his own. The letter is intended to explain his actions. It is a dramatic, sometimes harrowing, story that begins in the years leading up to the war, when following the accidental drowning of his daughter, Husson’s previously gilded life begins to unravel. And through Husson’s confession, Romain Slocombe gives the reader a startling picture of a man’s journey: from pillar of the French Establishment and World War One hero, to outspoken supporter of Nazi ideology and the Vichy government.

‘The story of France’s anti-Semitism is one much told by historians: it has seldom been written about so powerfully by a novelist.’ The Spectator
‘Harrowing epistolary novel, elegantly translated by Jesse Browner’ The Independent
‘A brilliantly told, unflinching account’ The Lady
‘A great read that angers and educates in turns, letting readers have access to the perspective of collaborators during World War II, which is not often depicted in literature.’ Wales Arts Review
‘A sobering reminder … a gripping narrative’ A Discount Ticket to Everywhere
‘Fascinating, beguiling, engaging … practically the entire battlefield of human emotions is explored’ These Little Words
‘A brave, compelling novel’ A Life in Books
‘The ending gave me shivers and kept me up thinking long after I’d finished it.’ Jess Haigh
‘Reads smoothly and swiftly … a book which lingers’ Jenny Messenger
‘A gripping account of wartime life … must be read’ On the Shelf
‘A very powerful book’ Ragdoll Books
‘A disturbing yet gripping book. It reads swiftly yet its impact will linger long after you’ve finished with it.’ Books & Livres
‘Probably one of the most significant novels of this year’ L’Express
‘[Slocombe’s] virtuosity and manner of storytelling reveal true talent … Go out and buy a copy of Monsieur le Commandant as soon as you can. Read it; you’ll be glad you did.’ Le Point
‘The novel is, in a unique way, a powerful piece of Resistance literature.’ La Vie
What Readers are Saying
‘The narrative had an actual physical effect on me … A warning, perhaps timely, that a potent mix of intellect, emotions and words can ignite the fires of hell.’
‘Illustrates chillingly how the human mind can stoke the fires of its own irrational prejudices and justify even the most indefensible actions’
‘Fascinating and shocking … A great book: graphic, poignant and memorable.’
‘It is a difficult read in places but you continue because You Must Know’
‘Has echoes of Jonathan Littell’s The Kindly Ones … But whereas Littell’s protagonist strains our credulity, Slocombe’s is only too real.’
‘Slocombe has captured the suspense and terror of the period. 9.5/10′
‘A ‘page turner’ … despite the horror of the subject you cannot wait to find out the final outcome of his confession.’
‘Thought provoking.’
‘Compelling and engrossing … will stay for a long time in the memory.’
‘Powerful … forces you to consider issues regarding all forms of racial discrimination in the 21st century.’
‘A reminder to us all just how fragile our society becomes when under duress … This book will stay with me’
‘The book managed to grip me even though I did not like the man or his racist views, but you can relate to many of his feelings. I suppose that’s the scary thing, he is a human being who I can kind of relate to.’
‘Shocking and horrifying’
‘Gripping … I couldn’t put it down … an eye-opener’
‘A richly written, harrowing, starkly honest book, a story, I believe, that needed to be told. The author so unremittingly enters the thoughts of Paul-Jean, it is difficult to do anything but become drawn into the growing horror of his confession.’
‘A real insight to the French character during World War 2’
‘The terror of this story unfolds calmly, inevitably, even blithely … French collaboration – covered in French cinema and non-fiction, but less common in the novel form – is here seen from the inside, making the reader Husson’s accomplice: that is author Romain Slocombe’s daring gamble … Parts of Husson’s letter are sickeningly – and deliberately – relevant today’
‘An absolute gem … I found myself wincing as I turned the page but yet, I couldn’t stop reading.’
‘Gripping … informative … I would certainly recommend this book to friends’
Bonus Material
An Interview with Romain Slocombe
Romain Slocombe

Meet the author

Romain Slocombe began his career as an illustrator working on comics and counter-culture magazines such as Métal hurlant in the late seventies and early eighties. As an artist, he was closely involved with the punk Bazooka collective, having studied alongside many of its members at the École des Bea…

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