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April in Paris

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3.25 of 5 stars 3.25  ·  rating details  ·  884 ratings  ·  141 reviews
Michael Wallner's thrilling first novel, set in occupied France during World War II, movingly recounts the impossible love affair between a German soldier and a French resistance fighter.Roth, a young soldier in the SS and a fluent French translator, works as an interpreter during the interrogation of Resistance fighters. But while off-duty, he slips away from his fellow o ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 25th 2008 by Anchor (first published 2006)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,004)
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Audiobook performed by Paul Michael

Roth is a young German army corporal, assigned to Gestapo headquarters in occupied Paris so that he can use his flawless French as an interpreter during interrogations. He’s disturbed by the torture he witnesses, but fulfills his duty as a soldier, accurately translating the words if not the emotions expressed. When not on duty, however, he slips away from his hotel billet, dons civilian clothes and walks the streets of Paris disguised as the Frenchman, Antoine
...more
Mark
Written in a mature style, a quick read but very deep and thought provoking. It portrays mixed identities as true identities and shows sides of people we don't consider very often.
Katy
When I opened the title page, and it read "Translated from German...," I was hesitant to read it. But, it ranks among the best books I've read this summer. The narrator is a transcriptionist and translator for the Gestapo during their occupation of Paris. He enjoys the city immensely, but, to learn more about Paris, he disguises himself as a Frenchman named Antoine. He explores the sidestreets, bookstores, and general cityscenes that abruptly "shut down" whenever a German soldier appears. During ...more
Jennifer
Certainly, there have been a vast number of books on this subject, both fiction and nonfiction. Honestly, because it is a heart breaking subject, I have often avoided novels of this type. My interest was piqued in this case because April In Paris is written from a German point of view sympathetic to the Resistance.

It perhaps long overdue for the world to reexamine the events of WWII in light of the fact that every German soldier was not a devout Nazi. Still, books and films that take this appro
...more
Darcy
I suppose the message of this book could be about "being yourself"--but that doesn't work out too well for the Nazi corporal in this novel. (The Nazis tended to frown on that kind of thing...)
I suppose it could be that life is short and we should enjoy it. That might tend to explain why said corporal appears to sleep with whoever provides the invitation. He's in a city he doesn't really belong to, working for people he doesn't really respect, doing a job he can't stomach. He's trying to "find hi
...more
Jennifer
Not very challenging or thought provoking, but entertaining. Entertaining in an improbable made-for-Hollywood love/war story kind of way without the cheesy ending. Think Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck. The writing was slightly confusing and there was one short chapter (I can't remember which) that seemed disjointed. The protagonist is described vaguely and just didn't seem fleshed out-for lack of a better term. I also had a problem with the idea that his French resistance love interest, Chantel, ...more
Lesley
It is the middle of WWII in occupied France,. It's very much a story of survival; how one life may be betrayed by another, Roth is twenty-one, a German soldier in occupied Paris doing translations in the back offices. He is suddenly transferred to the SS office, translating for interrogations. These are perilous times and Roth knows he can be caught in difficult situations. If he is caught by the French Resistance, he will be killed as a spy and if he is caught by his fellow Germans, he can be d ...more
Joan Stewart
Corporal Roth, a German soldier, is given marching orders to work in Paris as a translator in a Gestapo interrogation room. During his free time, he comes up with a verbotener plan to dress as a native Frenchman and wander through the streets of Paris. He names himself Antoine, whereupon he soon falls in love with Chantal, a book dealer's daughter and a member of the French Resistance.

At first glance, I grew restless - and often angry - with Corporal Roth because he seemed without the expected d
...more
Nmdb22
The story line of an SS soldier and a French Resistance woman love story in occupied France sounded wonderful. I guess I was expecting more romance and less war, but there were far too many graphic passages about torture, and little explanation of the romance other than superficial attraction between two young people in the middle of a war. quite a disappointment.
Susan
I was engrossed by this book but left with many questions - a German soldier, who speaks fluent French and, when out of uniform, can pass as a young Fremchman, falls for a young woman (who of course eventually ends up being a member of the Resistance, as is the rest of her family.) The descriptions of war-time France were of interest, as well as some aspects of Roth's life in Paris. But going from being an active participant in the Nazi war-effort to - somewhat reluctantly and half-heartedly - h ...more
Quiltyknitwit
Narrated by a young Wehrmacht corporal in occupied Paris during WWII, this fast-paced and intense novel left me with more questions than answers at the end. Corporal Roth speaks perfect French (how & why?), so he translates during interrogations and tortures. He seems detached from life until he becomes obsessed with a beautiful Parisienne he spots in front of a bookstore. His attraction to Chantal causes him to get himself into terrible trouble with his fellow Nazis, leading to betrayal, vi ...more
Carmen8094
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Denis
April in Paris is not great literature, but it's hard to resist its appeal. In the tradition of Casablanca (although definitely not on the same level), this novel suffers mostly from a lot of clichés and from a rather bland writing style, yet somehow it manages to take off, especially during the second part. The first part has some good elements: the author has a good eye for details (the story takes place in occupied Paris), the narrator is an intriguing character, and there is a neat sense of ...more
Tina
Aug 21, 2012 Tina rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like straight-forward historical fiction
I struggle on how to review this novel. I can't say I liked it, but I definitely thought it was a solid novel. I guess it's a good historical novel that had a great premise but fizzled when it came to the writing and execution of said premise. I liked the story - right when I thought deus ex machina was going on it surprised me by going in another direction, and the second half was definitely better than the first. The first part dragged a bit and wasn't overly believable. Roth falls in love wit ...more
Stephen
It is the middle of WWII in occupied France. Michel Roth is really lucky that his skills as a translator have landed him a job in Gestapo headquarters in Paris instead of at the front. He is the quiet sort who likes to stay just under the 'radar' . Michel has some friends among the staff but he is a bit of a loner ... when he decides he would like to explore this beautiful city. He knows that if he strolls about in his military uniform he will be shunned by the Parisians, so he works on a plan. ...more
Anna
The song “April in Paris” recalls young love in Paris in the springtime. The novel April in Paris by Michael Wallner is about young love set against a background of occupied Paris. The story is told from the viewpoint of Roth, a young German translator who works at the Gestapo headquarters where Resistance Fighters are being interrogated and tortured. Being a German soldier in a city known for its beauty and romance, Roth is unable to experience any of its charm. The Parisians view their occupie ...more
Beth
This book is a really fast read, partly because many of its plot twists are expected--you can see them coming pages ahead of actually reading them. The book is filled with close, exacting descriptions of torture; at first, these make for horrifying reading. After a while, however, they feel gratuitous and have virtually no impact, except to make this reader feel like the book has turned into one of those superhero films where some Hollywood megastar survives astoundingly awful beatings, shooting ...more
Christie
A short, quick read of historical fiction that takes place in Occupied France during WWII. The main character, Roth, is a German SS soldier who speaks perfect French and is assigned to work for the Gestapo as a translator during interrogations of captured French Resistance fighters. As fate would have it, Roth meets the woman of his dreams but she is the daughter of a French bookshop owner and he keeps his identity as a German soldier a secret from her. Already leading a dangerous double life to ...more
Maria Myers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ape
My 2009 Bookcrossing journal:

I read this in a day - it was just such an addictive story I really couldn't stop until it had gotten all the way through to its conclusion.

It kind of reminded me of some of those WWII films such as Black Book from Holland, as there's all this double crossing, espionage etc in one of the occupied countries on the continant. It's about a German soldier, Michael Roth, who really doesn't want to be in the war. He's a French translator in Paris and gets to sit in during
...more
whichwaydidshego?
This started out as a really interesting read. I liked the way the author, a German man, is direct and to the point. He writes it in the present tense, so everything is very immediate. It's a good approach for his style. And I really liked the story very much until about 150 pages in... then the story took a turn that was very torpid in its plot. Not to say there wasn't action, it was just all so predictable and obvious, and therefore quite dull.

The one interesting thing that took place in thos
...more
Lisa
Predictable, but well-written.

I read this while in France, after visiting Paris for the first time. I think it helped me enjoy the story since I had just visited a lot of places that are mentioned.

My only issue was that I was able to predict how the story would play out. On the plus side the story is written very well and it is very character driven with likable characters. It is also very honest about the time. The end also drags out a bit. When you think all is lost the author pixie back up ag
...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
"April in Paris" is a story of a different time, different priorities, urgency borne of risk and fear in a time of war and inhumanity. It's very much a story of survival; how one life may be betrayed by another, by what is done in the name of survival and this in direct conflict with what is done in the name of "love" or perhaps infatuation, even obsession.
The main character, a German translator in the German forces, is frighteningly reckless in his willingness to risk his life in the most blata
...more
Adrienne
The story of a German soldier who falls in love with a French resistance fighter. Roth is assigned to the post of an interrogation translator in Paris but whenever possible, he poses as a Frenchman to follow and learn more about Chantal, the daughter of a bookseller in Paris. When a bomb explodes in a nightclub, the SS suspect Roth is part of the plot and immediately incarcerates and tortures him, hoping to learn more about Chantal and the Resistance.

Julie Failla Earhart
One of the more interesting premises in the glut of WWII novels is Micheal Wallner’s April in Paris.

Taking place in 1943, the story is told in first person by a twenty-one-year-old German solider who has been assigned to work in Paris as a translator in a Gestapo interrogation room. The corporal, who is known to the readers only as Roth, wants to be “normal.” He has a revolutionary idea that, since he speaks fluent French without the slightest German accent, is to dress as a Frenchman and wander
...more
Shonna Froebel
Roth is twenty-one, a German soldier in occupied Paris doing translations in the back offices. He is suddenly transferred to the SS office, translating for interrogations. Roth finds himself drawn more and more to the French whose language he speaks so well. He takes a chance and finds an empty building where he can change into civilian clothes, and wander the streets as a Frenchman instead of an occupying soldier. He calls himself Antoine, stops at cafes and buys items in shops. One day he sees ...more
Eric White
A story of war and romance from the eyes of an average soldier caught between two countries and never really finding a place he can call his own in either. I thought this story was tragedy in one since that highlights the consequences of war on people, their families and the persons they choose to love. This is a good read full of history and stories about what life was like in Paris during the German occupation during World War II.
Ptreick
I listened to this book on audio during my evening commute. At times the writing seemed a little clunky to me, and I'm not sure if that was the translation, or just because I wasn't making a visual connection with the words on the page.

That said -- I'm a sucker for a good World War II book, and April in Paris had its share of Nazis, collaborators, torture, partisan fighters and quaint strolls through occupied Paris. Good stuff.

The narrator was both quite bright and horribly stupid, and there we
...more
Pat
WWII
German translator soldier called to work with Nazis in Paris. He translates as they torture. Difficult to read but well written.
He wears non-uniform clothes to blend with Parisians. Falls in love. She turns out to be underground and he is accused and tortured himself.
Paris during Nazi occupation.
Don Weidinger
as visited Normandy found refuge in bunker, collaborators informers everywhere, translator of interrogations corporal and underground girlfriend, the checkered suit act, fear of unknown greatest power, sleep deprived hallucinations, 10 French killed for every German, quad alphabet beat as type of morse code.
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Michael Wallner is an Austrian actor and screenwriter. He was born 1958 in Graz. He divides his time between Berlin and the Black Forest.
More about Michael Wallner...
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