Brodeck’s Report by Philippe Claudel

Description: Forced into a brutal concentration camp during a great war, Brodeck returns to his village at the war’s end and takes up his old job of writing reports for a governmental bureau. One day a stranger comes to live in the village. His odd manner and habits arouse suspicions: His speech is formal, he takes long, solitary walks, and although he is unfailingly friendly and polite, he reveals nothing about himself. When the stranger produces drawings of the village and its inhabitants that are both unflattering and insightful, the villagers murder him. The authorities who witnessed the killing tell Brodeck to write a report that is essentially a whitewash of the incident.
As Brodeck writes the official account, he sets down his version of the truth in a separate, parallel narrative. In measured, evocative prose, he weaves into the story of the stranger his own painful history and the dark secrets the villagers have fiercely kept hidden.
Set in an unnamed time and place, Brodeck blends the familiar and unfamiliar, myth and history into a work of extraordinary power and resonance.

Opening: My name is Brodeck and I had nothing to do with it.

I insist on that. I want everyone to know.

I had no part in it, and once I learned what happened, I would have preferred never to have spoken of it again, I would have liked to bind my memory fast and keep it that way, as subdued and still as a weasel in an iron trap.

A parable of the illusionary rex flammae papillon.

4* Brodeck’s Report
4* Grey Souls

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