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The Confidant

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,846 ratings  ·  299 reviews
Paris, 1975. While sifting through condolence letters after her mother's death, Camille finds a long, handwritten missive that she assumes came by mistake. But every Tuesday brings another installment from a stranger named Louis, a man separated from his first love, Annie, in the years before World War II. In his tale, Annie falls victim to the merciless plot of a wealthy, ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published October 30th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Erin
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Ugh. I had such high hopes for Helene Grémillon's The Confidant, but this book didn't work for me at all. From the first pages I struggled with this one, pushing myself to finish it for the sole purpose of being able to say it didn't kick my ass.

To be fair part the problem has to do with my reasons for picking up the book in the first place. I routinely browse the New Release shelves at my local library and got really excite
...more
Theresa
A book that will stay with me for a long time. The themes (motherhood, love, betrayal, desperation, etc) touched upon in the book were very thought-provoking. Grémillon did a wonderful job of leading me to despise Madame M in the first portion of the book (Annie's portion) and then within the first few pages of Madame M's portion, I found myself not only sympathizing with her, but understanding her.

One thing I think Grémillon did especially well was to make me think on that saying from childhood
...more
Jane
I wasn’t at all sure about The Confidant when I first picked it up. I was happy with the prospect of a story set in wartime France, but I was a little worried that the story was told through a series of anonymous letters in the 1970s. Wasn’t that just a little bit contrived?

Maybe, but the opening won me over.

I got a letter one day, a long letter that wasn’t signed. This was quite an event because I’ve never received much mail in my life. My letter box had never done more than inform me that the
...more
Anita
The plot of this book seemed quite interesting at first, but I just could not bring myself to like this book.

Yes, the way the author had handled the different points of view were interesting.

Yes, the historical events were quite accurate, and interesting

Yes, the plot seemed interesting.


Here is where it all fell apart!
The language was messy, and whenever there was a change of POV it was often unclear to me which of the characters were actually narrating. It might be that the translated Norwegian
...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
After the death of her mother, Camille Werner is going through the condolence letters when she comes across a letter that is rather strange. First of all, it's not addressed to her - the envelope is, but the contents aren't. There's no return address. And it doesn't read like a letter, but embarks on a story. The writer, Louis, tells of meeting and befriending Annie as a child in the village of N. in 1933. He was twelve, Annie was ten, and the world was changing.

Camille thinks at first that the
...more
Marisa
I really liked this book and I was feeling as if it would be a solid four-star novel, and then... wow! The very last paragraph came along and it earned that last star for an awesome conclusion. I was thinking that it was going to finish in the conventionally predictable manner but I was so wrong. I actually didn't see that coming. Sure, elements of the conclusion were not completely unexpected, but the very end was just brilliant.
I really liked the change in perspective among the characters. Th
...more
Karen
What will an hopelessly deranged and infertile Frenchwoman do to have her own child? Everything.

I received my ARC of The Confidant from First Reads. What initially piqued my interest was how reviewers compared the novel to Sarah's Key; and having read and enjoyed that novel, I hoped to catch myself reading about drama and mystery set against the backdrop of WWII in France. The Confidant is similar to Sarah's Key in the way that they are both set on the same stage, and both writers organized thei
...more
LJ
First Sentence: I got a letter one day, a long letter that wasn’t signed.

Camille Warner is in publishing, pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and sorting through condolences from her mother’s death. One letter, much thicker than the rest, stands out not only for its size, but its lack of either salutation or signature and seems to be part of a story. As more segments arrive, Camille is curious, thinking perhaps it’s an author looking to be published, then intrigued as the characters begin to be id
...more
Ingrid Fasquelle
Hélène Grémillon signe un premier roman admirablement maîtrisé. Elle y aborde de manière touchante et audacieuse le thème difficile de la maternité et des femmes en mal d'enfant. Le Confident est un drame psychologique méticuleusement construit, sur fond de seconde guerre mondiale.

C'est un roman à tiroirs, qui se lit comme une intrigue policière et va de révélation en révélation. Jouant la carte du mystère avec talent, l'auteure exploite brillamment le contexte historique et jongle avec le styl
...more
Kathy Ginocchio
This little book intrigued me and kept me riveted from start to finish. It's actually kind of haunting me, as several days have gone by since I finished and I keep finding myself wondering, did I really understand that book? And the ending? One of those WOAH moments. I thought for sure I could see where it was going and then BAM! Love those!


This is one of those books that jumps back and forth between time periods, but I found the device quite appropriate. The story is basically about a woman in

...more
Chelsey
I found this story to be raw and eloquently powerful. It is written in the form of letters being sent to our main character, Camille. But after finishing the story, I am not so confident who the main character really is in this book. Whose story was this? I am feeling so many things and really am holding back tears and ten other emotions at the same time. I became so wrapped up in this story and was literally on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out if my speculations from the beginning were ...more
Rebecca Graf
The Confidant by Helene Gremillon was a very interesting read. I have to admit that I was a little confused at first as I began reading but quickly the plot came together and I found myself enjoying this story immensely.

It is the story of a young woman whose mother has passed away. She is in the process of selling her parents’ home and getting closure on her life. During this process, she finds herself the recipient of several strange letters. Each week she received a letter telling a story that
...more
Leila
It is hard for me to rate this book with only two stars.
This book got me interested because the main story is set in Paris, and during WWII, which I find the most interesting era because there is always something new to find out (or to be appalled at).
So, I can almost say that I hated the first part of the book. Writing was awful. All the sentences sounded the same, they were so monotonous, without any indication of feelings. I hated the characters. Annie was immature girl. And then there was a
...more
Candice
I could not put this book down! I wanted so badly to see how the characters all sorted themselves out in the end. The book is set in France during World War II and in 1975. In 1975, Camille Werner goes through condolence mail after the death of her mother. A letter from "Louis" catches her eye. Louis writes of the love of his life, Annie, about how he loved her since they were children, about things that happened to both of them before and during the war. But who is Louis, and who was Annie? Cam ...more
Carolina
My first Goodreads Firstreads win!!
The Confidant is a story about the power of love and the consequences of misunderstandings.

This story captured my attention because it was written from many characters' points of view. As you read through the novel, you realize that none of the narrators are reliable because each is missing a key piece of information. Each character had a secret that, if it were revealed, could have changed the course of all their lives. Though of course, the events in the nove
...more
Stephanie
Amazing novel--so unique and unpredictable. I found this book very captivating b/c the events that unfolded kept adding another layer to the story in way that was not at all formulaic. Gremillon was able to convey the story from different perspectives and so all of the characters became either sympathetic or unlikeable--not one came out as a clear protagonist. I also appreciated how the font and typeset helped to differentiate between narratives: letter, journal, internal thoughts. An excellent ...more
Laurent
C'est l'histoire d'une femme qui raconte l'histoire d'un homme qui raconte l'histoire d'une femme qui raconte l'histoire d'une fille.
En résumé, un récit à tiroirs déséquilibré, dont on perd le long des pages à la fois le fil et l'intérêt.
Sissi
Difficile de reposer le Confident une fois qu'on l'a commencé...
L'histoire en quelques mots : Camille fait le deuil de sa mère décédée dans un accident de voiture, quand parmi les lettres de condoléances elle trouve un message étrange provenant d'un inconnu. Elle croit au début à une erreur, puis réalise peu à peu alors que d'autres lettres de plus en plus longues suivent la première, que son destin est lié à celui du mystérieux expéditeur.

Une histoire sur le thème de la jalousie très bien men
...more
Isabelle Neale
Un puzzle tragique qui mêle jalousie et désir d'enfant sur fond de seconde guerre mondiale. Technique narrative assez efficace qui utilise quatre voix en écho ou en mise en abyme et ménage le suspens jusqu'au bout.
ROSE
A la croisée entre roman historique, amoureux et policier, Le Confident nous livre une histoire forte, sous une plume de qualité.
Ce n'est pas tant la recherche de vérité qui nous captive ici, mais notre besoin de comprendre ce parcours de vie et d'amour, qui même s'il est ici romancé, n'en demeure pas moins universel...

En bref : un contexte historique (seconde guerre mondiale) richement documenté, des personnages qui sonnent vrais et une sensibilité à fleur de peau pour une écriture vraiment agr
...more
Liviu
starts like Kate Morton's books so another must

A novel that is well written and reasonably interesting but which depends on a conceit that works best the first time one reads it and as mentioned above Kate Morton has done it better in her second novel

So overall I never felt any tension or emotion while almost all twists were predictable and this type of book truly depends on such to be memorable and not get lost in the crowd

On the plus side, iliked the prose so will keep an eye on anyfuture book
...more
Antenna
A thirty-something book editor, Camille assumes that an unsigned manuscript has been sent to her through the post in error. When more arrive, she speculates that the author, “Louis” may be seeking a backdoor method of getting his work published. Ultimately, she is convinced that his story has some intimate connection with her own life.

Louis writes of his childhood sweetheart Annie, who offers naively to be the surrogate mother for “Madame M” the wealthy woman whose generosity to Annie is underla
...more
Anh
Feb 16, 2014 Anh rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Je ne pense pas le recommander
Recommended to Anh by: Une libraire
Je n'ai pas aimé ce livre. Aussi étrange que cela puisse paraître, je ne dirais pourtant pas que c'est un mauvais livre. Aimer ou pas un livre est propre à la sensibilité de chacun.
J'ai été bouleversée, dégoutée parfois mortifiée par la lecture. Je me suis souvent dit "qu'est ce que je fais avec un livre pareil dans les mains? Pourquoi les libraires me conseillent toujours ces livres là?". Néanmoins, il me semble que ce livre qui ne laisse personne indifférent est d'une profondeur psychologique
...more
Donna
I finished this is one setting, and it's been a very long time since I've done that.

This is a definite to-read, so I won't include any spoilers, only to say that you will wonder as much as the end as you do at the beginning, and that is good. It keeps the story alive and real. I want to meet these people and ask question after question. This doesn't mean that it left me empty, only wanting more, as real life does.

Super debut novel and can't wait to read more from this author.
Oceantide74
I don't really know how to rate this book. I must have liked it if I read it in 2 days but it was so disturbing. I found it hard to like any of the characters and I found the background of WWII to be trivialized which bothered me. It was hard to follow at times between the different narrators and time periods. The ending was confusing and I found myself looking back in the pages for the clues I missed. Perhaps the book flowed better in French.
Joelle
This book tried to take over my life: each time I opened it, I did NOT want to stop reading. However, hunger &/or appointments forced me away the first 3 times (I finished the book on the 4th sitting). The unfolding mystery drew me in & did not let go of my attention for a moment.

After her mother’s death, Camille, a young publisher in 1970s France, begins to receive letters from an unknown correspondent named Louis, detailing the story of his beloved Annie and her fateful interaction wi
...more
 Sophia B
In the beginning of the novel, the prose is somewhat immature but the author develops throughout the book. It is a good debut novel. There is love, revenge, war and mystery and... France. Suspenseful and interesting. Should have given this 3 stars but this is my guilty-pleasure-novel of the month.. Will wait for her next book!
Jude
Another truly beautiful piece of literature to add to my read list. ‘The Confidant’ was given to me by my partners godparents as a Christmas present last year, and sadly ended up hidden in the bottom of a box until a few weeks ago, one of the downsides of having moved house and never fully unpacked. Having just read and thoroughly enjoyed ‘The Elegance of the Hedgehog’ I was excited at the prospect of getting started on another piece of French literature, and potentially giving myself a nice top ...more
Sigried
Gelezen in het Nederlands' 'de vertrouweling'
Boeken die beloftevol beginnen, langzaam inzakken en dan helemaal de mist ingaan zijn de ergste. Ook deze keer bleef ik doorlezen in de hoop terug te vinden wat me aanvankelijk deed doorlezen, maar dit boek bleek toch een teleurstelling te zijn. De verhaallijn is zwak en vergezocht, de handelingen van de personages zijn totaal ongeloofwaardig, het gebruik van WO II als achtergrond voegt niets toe aan de essentie van het boek. Onvruchtbaarheid, draagmo
...more
Pmalcpoet Pat Malcolm
Really couldn't drag myself through this one, though I tried. The setting and premise appealed to me, but the plot wasn't handled well and transitions were disruptive rather than enriching. A disappointment.
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Poème 3 23 Jan 22, 2013 10:42AM  
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Hélène Grémillon was born in 1977. She has degrees in literature and history and was a broadcast and press journalist before becoming a full-time writer. The Confidant is her first novel. She lives in Paris with her partner, singer and songwriter Julien Clerc, and their child. She is working on her next novel.

More about Hélène Grémillon...
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