[DOWNLOAD] Charlotte Gray

History is written by the victors and but between 1939 45 thanks to fluctuating fortunes France saw its recent history being rewritten again and again as she experienced in turn Conuest Occupation Collaboration Resistance Liberation and bloody Aftermath involving a hostile and savage Reckoning It is impossible to approach any story set in WW2 without knowing the outcome but Sebastian Faulks succeeds in setting his tense and absorbing story against a backdrop of a dejected and defeated France thrown into confusion and uncertainty and into this demoralised and divided country he drops a somewhat timorous Charlotte Gray his SOE agent who will prove to be brave and resourceful Recently recruited into the secret services by a completely random meeting and after the briefest rudimentary training Charlotte Gray one moonlit night parachutes into Occupied France and must immediately look to her own devices calling upon her innate powers of self preservation when faced by danger at every corner and must negotiate unexpected hazards whilst seeking willing assistance when doubt and betrayal are all around her the unforeseen and unexpected confound the civilian population torn between resistance and submission hostility and collaboration and forcing them to re evaluate their prospects and reposition their immediate loyalties as circumstances rapidly changed week by week during the conflictI read the book for a second time twenty years after completing my first reading when like many of the GR readership I was a little disappointed having enjoyed both Girl at Lion d Or and Birdsong so much But this time I have read the novel differently and understood Faulks preoccupation with the chaotic alliances and shifting allegiances of the French people The idea that the French people were united in resistance after the French forces were overrun in May 1940 is simplistic and misinformed Vast areas of France willingly embraced fascism ra I found myself comparing this to other war titles by this author In both Birdsong and Where My Heart Used to Beat there were two timelines The look back at the war experience was an essential part of those novels This is a WWII novel told entirely during war time Yes there were two characters who had participated in The Great War but there were only a few paragraphs telling how that war had wounded them primarily psychologicallyThis involved civilian participation in the war Important is the French resistance though it wasn t a resistance story in itself Those of us who haven t been living under a rock know about the deportation of Jews to concentration camps This novel gives us a historical view of the collaboration of the French government with Germany in this deportation process Although certainly not a political novel the reader is told about the politics of the time in a way that I had been aware of only Charlotte Gray broadcasts an exceptionally distorted definition of courage depicting a young woman endangering her life only to pursue a specious personal agenda She contributes nothing to the resistance or war effort and her only motivation is a man Unsurprisingly Charlotte Gray has ust about as much agency to rival that of a warm limp lettuce leaf The novel is a grim mockery of the dedication and fierce bravery of the SOE girls exploiting a very real and turbulent episode in European history and failing To Present The Complexity Of present the complexity of Sacrifice These Women Were these women were to make Many of them gave their livesAt its core Charlotte Gray is a saccharine and unconvincing romance masuerading as gritty historical fiction of them gave their livesAt its core Charlotte Gray is a saccharine and unconvincing romance masuerading as gritty historical fiction backdrop of World War II serves no other true function than as a convenient setting to orchestrate a romance and amplify the associated angst because only in the presence of sadistic Fascist regimes and all their inconveniences can you prove your love for someone right Travesties such as The Nightingale are prime examples that perpetuate this attitude which I find uite frankly disrespectful see my thoughts here The romance in uestion is entirely unfounded and unconvincing Charlotte and Gregory do not seem to connect on any psychological level so their fling is certainly never emotionally compelling Perhaps if the relationship were even vaguely moving then I could condone Charlotte only consenting to SOE on his behalf She is a submissive and stale character who does nothing to prove that she is worth emotional investment or even competent enough for recruitment So this ah romance as well as Charlotte s sex appeal of course functioning as an integral ustification and plot point angers me it belies any sort of feminist objective because Charlotte does not empower herself Is this really the best tribute Faulks could pay to the female experience amidst the androcentricity of warThe writing itself is a dense and turgid tract of little literary merit Faulks ascribes volumes of details to poor effect presumably to achieve some level of verisimilitude but the result is invasive and sacrifices any authority the plot may have otherwise commanded The narrative itself is meandering excruciatingly dull I skim read from the halfway mark and ultimately achieves nothing Add this to your dimensionless and archetypal characters and you re in for this sterile aimless and bloodless slogNot amused I m astounded that this has earned itself such laudatory praise and a decent rating here on Goodreads As far as I m concerned this is a dry trivialization of a harrowing truth It offers no new surprising or enlightening perspective on a very well trodden time period Most crucially in terms of alerting a modern audience to the incredible achievements of Special Operations Executive this does far damage that it does good It s not you it s me the classic break up phrase is an apt resolution marking my falling out of enchantment with what is called The French Trilogy I had an easy time giving praise to The Girl of the Lion d Or and I have rated Songbird a masterpiece one of the best literary accounts of the Great War In trying to pin down what didn t work this time I m reminded how much what I m writing here is a matter of personal opinion and not an attempt at objective literary citicism Charlotte Gray was off to a good start with a wartime romance in London between a composed cool headed Scottish girl and a borderline suicidal pilot who. From the bestselling author of Birdsong comes Charlotte Gray the remarkable story of a young Scottish woman who becomes caught up in the effort to liberate Occupied France from the Nazis while pursuing a perilous mission of her ownIn blacked out wartime London Charlotte Gray develops a dangerous passion for a battle wea. ,


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Charlotte GrayS an ill disciplined meandering novel that lacks focus and a sense of reality No surprise the film tightened up the plot even though the film isn t a patch on the older SOE films like Carve her name with Pride and Odette A poor show from Faulkes whose Birdsong I really enjoyed The only thing I will say for it is that it s inspired me to read some non fiction about female SOE agents working in France I thought that I would love this book The plot sounded wonderful Just the sort of thing that I would normally like It takes place in WWII in France with a Scottish girl playing spy in a little village But once her duties are over she decided to stay in the village to try and seek out information about her lost lover an English pilot who is MIA somewhere in France But something about the book ust didn t click with me Charlotte s character seemed remote and rather boring I didn t find myself caring for her as much as I cared for the other characters especially Julien And something about all the exciting and dramatic bits Who Is Muhammad Ali? just seemed amateur to me though I can t say why exactly Especially since I know that Mr Faulks is a well respected author and I ve still got his Birdsong on my list despite not caring much for Charlotte Gray At times too the writingust felt overly long and dramatic I almost bowed out at the very beginning reading for pages and pages about a pilot performing his duties All the excess description and detail was terribly boring But still I won t say that it was all bad Julien was a wonderful endearing character The history of France in WWII was well done especially with the way Faulks showed how differently all the French people reacted to the Germans running their country I liked the book well enough but I can t say any for it than that Not bad but still rather simple and genericFind book reviews at A uick Red Fox An interesting take on WWII from the point of view of agents who went into France to help the Resistance but also a slightly odd romance novel Charlotte Gray the main character is a Scottish girl who comes to London in 1942 to do something for the war effort and almost by accident falls into working for a fictionalised version of Special Operations Executive SOE At the same time she becomes obsessed with a daring airman Peter Gregory who also ends up flying missions for the same department dropping supplies to resistence workers in France or picking up British operatives who are returning after missions When he goes missing on one of these flights Charlotte sent to France on her first mission decides to look for him and defies her orders to return home when she has completed her official dutiesThe book is in some respects a not altogether successful mixture of romance psychology espionage in WWII French politics and the plight of the Jews in Nazi occupied Europe with uite a bit of philosophy thrown in as a side order Charlotte is unsure for a long while whether she really loves Peter or has latched onto him because of her own psychological problems stemming from childhood At times she is a slightly irritating vacillating character with no will of her own and her main role in the book seems to be to trot round France and show the reader various other characters and situationsHowever other aspects of the book were interesting such As The Light Thrown On The Attitudes Of The French the light thrown on the attitudes of the French their German overlords and how some looked on collaboration and even occupation as a necessary evil to sort out problems they perceived with their country And the plight of the Jews as seen through the tragic fates of an embittered artist in his 60s and two young boys whose parents have already been deported to the death camps is heart rending Therefore I found it an enjoyable read while remaining well aware that it doesn t give a realistic portrayal of the real life Work Of The Courageous SOE Operatives I of the courageous SOE operatives I mixed feelings about this book It shares many similarities with Birdsong lovers war etc etc The language is gorgeous Faulks writes in a way that really engages the you You feel as though you really know Charlotte you almost feel what she feels For me it felt as if all that was missing from this novel was a good story For huge sections of the novel nothing happens at all Faulks has seemed to have Don't Worry, Eat Cake: A Coloring Book to Help You Feel a Little Bit Better about Everything just focused on the travelling between places and writing out many conversations in which Charlotte describes and in my view exaggerates her love for Gregory She seems to view love as one person exploiting another through a wound Read into that what you will And I guess one could agree with her Charlotte is a strange character at points in the book she seems very wise and strong willed and at others almost infantile I think beneath it all she is still a child and seeks from Gregory the love that was neverrarely bestowed on her as a child That s another thing I dislike about this book it s transparency The ending is obvious from the moment you open the book All the other componentseverything but the story however were perfect If you read this expecting another Birdsong you will probably like me be disappointed Even though I greatly enjoyed the majority of this British lass battles the Nazis in France novel I have to say that after turning the final page I m somewhat disappointed It s a really good book and I wouldn t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who wanted an incredibly well written tale of recent history But still it s far from perfect and I ll confess that as I was working my way into it over the first hundred pages or so there were moments when I was tempted toust hurl it against a wall and give up the whole thing as a bad lotThe main problem certainly in the opening sections is Charlotte Gray herself The character we re introduced to as opposed to the one she develops into is like a wet weekend a kind of mournful and dour presence that you wish would ust go away It s never great when Bewildered this has such a decent rating Perhaps everyone forgot how heavy handed sloppy rambling and sometimes absurd this was until about page 300 when it does markedly get better But it irritated me with its patronising subtext of female subservience to romantic imperatives As if all those female SOE agents went to France principally for an amorous fling And often the research was mopped over the surface with the subtlety of an industrial detergen. G Europe's darkest years and will confront a terrifying secret that threatens to cast its shadow over the remainder of her days Vividly rendered tremendously moving and with a narrative sweep and power reminiscent of his novel Birdsong Charlotte Gray confirms Sebastian Faulks as one of the finest novelists working today. Survived the Battle of Britain hectic days The prose was every bit as good as the previous novels but it was no longer enough to keep me glued to the page as the action moved over to France I disliked in particular the inconsistencies in Charlotte motivations who moves like a clueless puppett from one location to another from one mission to another as a pretext to examine another aspect of life under the Vichy governement than as a natural progression from previous events The real protagonist of the novel becomes the French society as a whole a meticulous study based on flawless research that makes the book read almost as non fiction but also underlines the weakness in holding to a coherent plot line that if I m honest the other two books are also guilty of The romantic angle is basically forgotten and the focus shifts to the plight of the Jews under the Vichy government a tale that needs to be told but one that the author deals with in an uncharacteristic heavy handed manner alternating between long winded political explanations and melodramatic tearjerker scenesMost of the uotes I did select from the book deal with Charlotte s personality and with an outlook on art from the perspective of Levade a World War I veteran who tries to exorcise his demons through painting Regarding Charlotte towards the end Faulks gives a hint that her hesitations mood swings and illogical decisions were deliberate an relevant to her character The human desire for neatness would always ultimately be defeated by the chaos of the mind s own truths Behind the calm exterior the girl is supposed to be fighting a desperate battle against depression searching for a lost innocence and for a cause worthy of all her enthusiasm Depression though that seemed a limp word for the storm of black panic and half demented malfunction had over the years worked itself out in Charlotte s life in a curious pattern Its onset was often imperceptible like an assiduous housekeeper locking up a rambling mansion it noiselessly went about and turned off one by one the mind s thousand small accesses to pleasure The passion for the pilot Peter Gregory gets mixed in her mind with her passion for French culture As a side note this interest in the French society is centered on the works of Marcel Proust probably as a reference to the paradise Charlotte herself lost Proust is one of the major themes on Goodreads in 2013 so apparently I oined in the group by accident The conflation of the two themes seemed forced to my mind another pretext that serves the author s goals but doesn t uite scan on the logical metric I have this one chance to change my life to save my soul and whether I can do that depends for some reason I don t yet understand on whether you can save your country s soul as well With the next uote a conversation between Levade and Charlotte I try to make the transition from the girl s passion driven outlook to the abstract and philosophical atitude of the painter Are you wise enough to know that the problems of lovers seem to everyone else in the world especially to their friends like comic self indulgence like the antics of fretful children If at the one moment in your life when the chance of something transcendental is offered you if you have this chance to move beyond the surface of things to understand and you say No maybe not it s ust a bore to my friends What then How do you explain the rest of your life to yourself How do you pass the time until you die Do you substitute for that an interest in what eating Do you spend the next sixty years trying to be fascinated by the act of breathing Levade comes close to reconcile me with the perceived shortcomings of the novel as he himself struggles to open channels of communication with his son a fighter in the Resistance and to fit together the pieces of a world gone mad in the trenches of Verdun Like language art struggles with what is common to disturb the individual habit of perception and by disturbing it to enable men to see what has been lived and seen by others By upsetting therefore it tries to soothe because it hopes to free each person from the tyranny of solitude In another dialogue with Charlotte Do you think all paradises are lost that that s their nature I wouldn t say lost said Levade but they must be in the past What is present can t be imagined and imagination is the only faculty we have for apprehending beauty For the closure I will return To the only faculty we have for apprehending beauty For the closure I will return To Issue Of Credibility the issue of credibility ticked me off about Charlotte Grey may be exactly what the author intended and what other readers will find masterfully executed Logic and clear cut situations are not what life is about and peace of mind may come when we accept we are less than perfect vessels fallible and ever in flux Levade had told her that there was no such thing as a coherent human personality when you are forty you have no cell in your body that you had at eighteen It was the same he said with your character Memory is the only thing that binds you to earlier selves for the rest you become an entirely different being every decade or so sloughing off the old persona renewing and moving on If you strip this novel down to its central storyline it s about a young woman who goes to France primarily to find her airman boyfriend who s missing in action In France she gets amorously involved with another man She contributes nothing to the war effort She s not even in touch with London In other words you could say it s hugely disrespectful to the enormous bravery and dedication of the real female SOE agents who certainly didn t go to France for amorous reasons These agents all belonged to a circuit and were highly disciplined They weren t swanning around in France looking for love This part of the novel is pure chick litSecondly there s way too much research in this novel Characters become talking heads and are often there merely to provide a commentary on the wider picture of what s going on in France The focus suddenly shifts from Charlotte s love life and her non existent SOE responsibilities to the plight of the Jews His attempt at covering so much ground left me feeling all the various aspects of this book were thin and without emotional power This part of the novel is aligned to non fiction Add to that incongruous lengthy meditations on Proust and art and Freud and what you have Ry RAF pilot and when he fails to return from a daring flight into France she is determined to find him In the service of the Resistance she travels to the village of Lavaurette dyeing her hair and changing her name to conceal her identity Here she will come face to face with the harrowing truth of what took place durin. ,