Matar De Gaulle

Killing De Gaulle | EmpĂșries, 2014

» Joaquim Amat-Piniella Award 2015

A keen student of contemporary French history, Joan Daniel Bezsonoff recreates an episode from the country’s past in this novel:  the plot hatched by a faction of French activists, made up of civilians and soldiers opposed to Algerian independence, to assassinate General De Gaulle. The Frenchmen and women who lived in the former colony, nicknamed les pieds-noirs, never forgave De Gaulle for this gesture, which left them stranded in no man’s land. They were forced to choose between an Algeria that had turned against them or a France they no longer called home, which regarded them with utter indifference, if not outright suspicion.

The novel’s notable cast of characters includes Major Robert Vidal, a military man of Catalan descent, and his family, which made Algeria their home. Using the characters’ stories as its starting point, the novel recounts the teething troubles of the Algerian independence movement, the battle between the two opposing sides and the ins and outs of the plot against the French high command in the sixties.

Brilliant, ironic and heartfelt, Bezsonoff returns to his most fertile passions: contemporary history, the military classes and languages as varied as Afrikaans and Occitan.