genre: historical fiction
synopsis: an antisemitic architect is approached by a businessman who wants to build hiding places for jews
setting: paris, france, 1942
a quote i loved: “Let me explain something to you, Monsieur Bernard. Back in 1940, when this hell began, I realized that my first duty as a Christian was to overcome my self-centeredness, that I had to inconvenience myself when one of my human brethren was in danger – whoever he may be, and whether he was a born Frenchman or not. I’ve simply decided not to turn my back.”
what i liked: belfoure captures the tension so many must have felt: to collaborate or not? to resist or not? and how? you see characters wrestle with motivation and take actions despite themselves. i also loved seeing how the main character would get more and more creative with his hiding places.
what i didn’t like: the characters aren’t all really likeable. but they’re real: as you see them take actions even they don’t expect of themselves, you see their prejudicial thinking simultaneously unchanged and challenged.
trigger warnings: torture, attempted rape, language (both swear words and slurs)
final thoughts: this isn’t necessarily a book i would recommend, but it’s a good read and gives a different perspective on parisians under occupation than other similar books i’ve read.