The red collar by Jean-Christophe Rufin

The Red collar by Jean-Christophe Rufin

French fiction

Original title – Le Collier rouge

Translator – Adriana Hunter

Source – review copy

John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mama sure was proud of him
He stood so straight and tall in his uniform and all
His mama’s face broke out into a grin

“Oh, son, you look so fine, I’m glad you’re a son of mine
Make me proud to know you own a gun
Do what the captain says, lot of medals you will get
We’ll put them on the wall when you get home”

That old train pulled out, John’s ma began to shout
Tellin’ ev’ryone in the neighborhood
“That’s my son that’s about to go, he’s a soldier now, you know”
She made well sure her neighbors understood

John brown is about the aftermath and outfall of war by Bob Dylan

Well today is Bastille day , so a perfect day for French novel and this is the most recent I have been sent , I may remind you there are  59 books from france under review on the blog ., Jean-Christophe Rufin is one of the founders of doctors without borders and a former ambassador of France to Senegal , he also won the Priz Goncourt for a debut novel in 1997 , he has also won the main prize in 2001 , and has since then he has written over ten books .He is also the second youngest member of the French academy .This book won the Prix Maurice -Genovoix a yearly French  book prize .

At one o’clock in the afternoon , with the crushing heat over the town , the dog’s howling was unbearable , The animal had ben there on the place for two days it had barked . It was a big brown , short-haired dog with no collar and a torn ear .

The opening lines as the dog barks all day long .

This book is about a dog and three people , the story is set in the aftermath of world war one .A small town of Berry has a dog that is barking all day and night long during this hot summer .A war hero Jacques Morlac is awaiting a trial as a deserter and  the arrival of the second person in this story a judge , but this judge has had his worldview scared by the war and what he saw during . The third person is a young woman Valentina she is related too Jacques .We discover how all three faired during the war and what the dog that is barking has to do with them all .Why does the dog wearing a red collar “ribbon” . What did the dog do during the war and how did he connect these three souls .

After the armistice , Lantier saw his appointment to the military justice system as serendipity .The relevant committees must have felt he was ripe for this difficult responsibility : protecting the military institution , defending the interests of the nation and understanding mens failings .

But this prisoner was different .He belonged to both camps ; he was a hero , he had defended his country , yet at the same time loathed it .

Lantier the judge to decide on what to do with Jacques .A job that brings back his own life during the war .

I loved this short book it is one of those perfect for a summer evening reads .IT is about war , being human under pressure also the loyalty of a dog to the ones they love .I was reminded of the book by Dan Rhodes Timolean vieta come home ,which like this the dog is a dumb  witness to various peoples lives .in the way mention and seen but never do we know the dogs view of all this .Its a simple story of three people and the damage that war can do . From the fallen hero , to the man damage because of what he saw and the damage of being behind the lines during the war .I was also reminded of a book like A month in the country , this book has a similar feel of damaged souls after the horrors of world war one .This is a post war story of the out falling of war , in particular the war to end all wars .

Do you have a favourite book from france ?

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kelly
    Jul 15, 2015 @ 00:57:01

    This looks fantastic! I love the setting, and most of all the idea of the dog. Definitely keeping this one on my radar.

    Reply

  2. MarinaSofia
    Jul 15, 2015 @ 15:34:47

    Read this post a bit late for Bastille Day – but it sounds lovely, and I haven’t read anything by Rufin yet.

    Reply

  3. whisperinggums
    Jul 16, 2015 @ 06:49:14

    This sounds well worth a read. I’m afraid I haven’t read much recent French literature, but my all time favourite, and one of my favourite novels of all time, is Camus La pets (or The plague)

    Reply

  4. 1streading
    Jul 16, 2015 @ 14:54:08

    I read Brazil Red when it came out but hadn’t heard anything of Rufin since then, though I notice that this isn’t his first from Europa. Sounds perfect for my book club – we only do short books so no-one has an excuse!

    Reply

  5. Pat
    Jul 25, 2015 @ 14:22:08

    My present favourite in French, but from Switzerland is Joel Dicker ‘La vérité sur l’affaire Harry Quebert’ marvellous book, maybe a little too obvious, here’s my link to this book https://patpalbooks.wordpress.com/2014/10/13/la-verite-sur-laffaire-harry-quebert/, the Sorj Chalondon’s ‘Quatrième Mur’ is also worth the trip
    Pat

    Reply

  6. Pat
    Jul 25, 2015 @ 14:30:47

    I answered your question on current French favourites, as for your review, I read this book when it came out in France, I’m a fan of Ruffin and found this ‘close to modern day’ French story closer to home than his previous works, although it is more than a year since I read this, your initial quote “At one o’clock in the afternoon….” Still stands out in my mind. This was a thoroughly enjoyable read (a true Ruffin)

    Reply

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