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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Claude Gutman
Age Range: 12+
Fighting Back continues David’s story. Provided with shelter by the kindly local policeman, Monsieur Rigal, David is still ‘an angry young man’ who rebels against everything; guilty and angry that he is still free while everyone else from the Jewish children’s home has been taken away. Obsessed by a desire for vengeance, and desperate for news of his parents he sets out to make his way back to Paris. Taken under the wing of the Maquis, David learns to fight in the resistance against the occupation by the Germans and takes part in the liberation of France.
Finally, David returns to Paris where he discovers strangers living in his apartment. Madam Bianchotti is delighted to see him and provides him with a home once more, but David is still restless, still full of angst and will only be able to move on once he knows where his parents are. He never loses hope of seeing them again until the day he walks into the Lutétia Hotel in Paris, where the returning survivors of the Nazi concentration camps gather. Only then, does he finally learn their fate.
The Empty House and Fighting Back by Claude Gutman, adeptly convey the agony of loss, fear and courage of those who were prepared to help David survive. His soul-searching is beautifully translated by Anthea Bell and the reader is able to experience his helplessness, his overwhelming rage and above all, his sheer determination to survive.