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Monsieur le Commandant

192 pages3 hours


‘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

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.


‘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

‘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

‘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

‘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 

‘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

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