Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Iron in the Soul - post II

There is a real sense of futility as the rumours spread of the defeat and the armistice being signed. Now with 100 pages gone all of the main characters have been reintroduced with the exception of Marcelle and you wonder how she is getting on with Mathieu’s child. War seems to have damaged people and put their lives in perspective and has also had an impact on Paris itself, which is beautifully described:

“It was Sunday. For the past three days it had been Sunday. The whole week now, in Paris, consisted of one day, a ready-made, colourless sort of day, rather stiffer than usual, rather more synthetic, over-marked by silence, and already filled by a secretly working rot.”

Bullet points between pages 57 – 112

* Boris is injured in a hospital and given the chance to fly to England and escape before the Germans arrive but he explains that he needs to ask Lola first and then goes off to meet with his sister

* It is then revealed that Ivich is not only married to the man she ran to when she thought war was coming in Paris but had a miscarriage and has aged a great deal and as a result of her experiences has drifted almost completely away from her brother

* Daniel is in Paris and almost enjoying the state the city finds itself in and then he spots the Germans, the first time they have appeared in the story in the flesh, and he realises just how many enemy military are in the deserted capital

* Mathieu and the troops wait to hear what is going on and get mixed messages about the signing of an armistice and as a result feel as if they have failed because they have not had a chance to fight

* But then they drift back to camp with the feeling that they might after all get a chance to prove they can fight only to discover they are being abandoned by their officers and left to fend for themselves

“No one likes us, no one: the civilians blame us for not defending them, our wives have got no pride in us, our offices have left us in the lurch, the villagers hate us, the Jerries are advancing through the darkness.”

More tomorrow…