The Five Sisters : A Young Norman in the Second World War
"THE FIVE SISTERS" greets the reader with an account of Havel's idyllic youth, the cold months passed in the cozy home of his mother and her younger sisters, situated in the coastal town of Le Havre, west of Paris, and summers spent in Hambye, in the Norman countryside, where he and his relatives lived in the family house of his paternal grandfather. As Havel matures, the stories of his six brothers and sisters, his mother and also his father, unfold in easy, lucid prose, painting a romantic picture of the tranquil French countryside.Suddenly it is June of 1940 and what seemed an untouchable peace is shattered when Normandy is invaded. German soldiers infiltrate and occupy the homes of the locals including that of Havel's family. The rugged landscape becomes dangerous and inhospitable, rutted by the treads of German tanks. Allies control the once empty sky. Even the airwaves are assailed with laws prohibiting British broadcasting. The police send off all the local Spaniards, Gypsies, Jews, and sixteen-year-old boys to Germany. Machine gunning and bombing begin to elicit ever more victims from among the railway employees and Normans. Much of the entire region is victimized and destroyed."The Five Sisters "written by Jean Havel, is the story of how he and his family struggled to adapt to, and survive, the chaotic existence of Norman France during World War II, and ultimately, how he is forced, in his adolescence, to accept an endless uncertainty for his own future and for the future of his country.
- Paperback | 164 pages
- 148 x 210 x 10mm | 222g
- 13 Feb 2011
- Vantage Press
- United States
About Jean Eugene Havel
JEAN EUGeNE HAVEL is the author of over a dozen books written in French, a number of which have been translated into second and third languages. Havel claims that, "Andersen, Homer and the Arab story-tellers made me understand our great adventure on the sea under the skies," but that it was the second world war which made him understand the importance of the individual human being, peace, liberty, and democracy and it has been these values which have driven his writing. Havel holds a doctorate from the Institute of Scandinavian Studies and has spent much of his later adulthood living and teaching in Ontario, Canada. "The Five Sisters "is his first book written in English.