Bernice Rubens has created a character of profound and moving humanity; in placing him at the end of our century, she makes his story a personal tragedy resonating with historical tragedy, bound in with the fate of six million others.
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By Mary Carnegie on 01-05-18
Intriguing story of conspiracy and injustice.
I’m not giving anything away by speaking of conspiracy and injustice. What else could could happen to someone called Alfred Dreyfus? A century after the historical Dreyfus became the focus of that case which divided France for decades, with continuing resonance even now, his fictional namesake, a respected British teacher, is embroiled in a similar cause célèbre. Perhaps his greatest mistake is to become headteacher of an expensive English public school (Heaven alone knows why he might want to leave the headship of a more than successful state school for such a closed establishment - being Jewish would only be one of multiple reasons for not being “one of us” - Scots, Irish, Catholics, Protestants (I exclude Anglicans from that designation) need not apply, unless ancient aristocracy, anglicised to the point of extinction of individuality.
This Dreyfus has a family with the same names as the real man, but meets with even more sinister foes. When Captain Dreyfus was accused, there had been an act of treason, and he, poor man, being not only Jewish but Alsatian, and therefore speaking with a German accent and having a German name, with relatives who’d chosen to remain German, when Alsace/Lorraine changed hands after the Franco-Prussian war, reputedly too serious to engage in Officer’s Mess shenanigans, fitted the bill. The conspiracy against him seems to have grown more slowly, but there’s no denying that it was fuelled by, and reciprocally fired anti-Semitism. Harder to insult Germany, which had a big, nasty army!
Fortunately this modern Dreyfus doesn’t have to spend years on Devil’s Island in conditions of medieval cruelty, nor do his supporters suffer
By Amazon Customer on 22-08-17
Gripping and moving and sadly all too plausible
After reading Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris I was intrigued to find another book which at first I thought had to do with L'Affaire Dreyfus. Well this is and isn't about the French Dreyfus case. It is also about anti-semitism, prejudice and injustice but retold in a very English and modern setting and (without demeaning the seriousness of those issues) with a bit of a crime mystery element thrown in.
As a fiction story it holds its own and is superb on that front alone but it is so much more than that...
As for the narration, this is one of the easiest to listen to narrators that I have come across. Perfect simplicity without any annoying false sounding tones or accents.
I'll be looking out for more both by the author and by the narrator.