Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Human Resistance

Charlotte Gray

by Sebastian Faulks

...what use is logic when faced with the power of truth?

I love picking bon mots in books I read. This one is from Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks, one of the top British writers.

The books I review or mention here usually have a relevance to Russia or the Russian view of the world. Faulks is not widely known there. A Russian language internet search returned fewer than 3,000 mentions, mostly about Faulks being the new author of James Bond books.

Charlotte Gray has only fleeting references to Russia being hammered by the advancing German armies in 1942. However, the story of British intelligence trying to help - or ignite - the French Resistance to German occupation while at the same time disrupting the Communist influence within the Resistance, this story is pertinent to understanding how the fight for freedom and democracy is won - or lost. Then and now.

Much of the thinking in Charlotte Gray is devoted to why so many of the French accomodated the German occupation - and even welcomed it. Dictatorial order and clarity instead of democratic sleaze, chaos and insecurity. Many, probably most, decided they could live with a bit of indignity.

That was in France in the 40s. In Russia in the 90s, before she became what she is now, democracy had turned in to a swear word - dermocracy (shitocracy).

Book in the UK: Charlotte Gray

Film in the UK: Charlotte Gray [DVD] [2001]

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