Monday, May 07, 2007

The Reprieve - post VI

The book comes to an end with the mixture of different stories being told in succession carrying onto the last page. The difference compared to the beginning is that by now you see the method in the madness and the juxtaposition between events with a brilliant contrast between Ivich being violated by her lover and Czechoslovakia being let down by France and England.

There is also a mixture of relief and disappointment when it appears that the Munich agreement has heralded peace and not war. Half of the characters are still being mobilized when the announcement is made and the book ends with a feeling of limbo.

Bullet points between pages 348 – 377

* Everyone is waiting for a statement by the French leader Daladier that most expect will be an announcement of war and it is with a sense of resignation that some of the major characters make decisions that they could regret with Ivich giving herself to a man and Boris joining up for three years

* However as the announcement arrives Daladier explains that he is flying the next day to see Hitler with Chamberlain and so he has nothing to announce - a move that starts to dispel some of the tension

* Mathieu sits on a train going towards the barracks and planes fly overhead leading some aboard to believe that they are German and war has been declared but when they arrive at the station they are told the news from Munich

* The French and British faced with war to defend Czechoslovakia back down and let their ally down and in a scene of anger and disappointment the Czech government understands it is on its own

* Back in Prague the news is met with anger but in France there are crowds waiting to meet Daladier as he flies back into the capital celebrating what they believe is a peaceful end to the confrontation with Hitler

“Daladier stood on the top step, and looked at them dumfounded. Then he turned to Leger and said between his teeth:
‘The blind fools!’”

A review will follow in the next couple of days…

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