French crime fiction and the Second World War

Past crimes, present memories
Author(s): 
Gorrara, Claire
ISBN: 
9780719095498
Date published: 
July 2014
Paperback
Price: 
£15.99

This study explores France’s preoccupation with memories of the Second World War through an examination of popular culture and one of its more enduring forms: crime fiction. It examines what such popular narratives have to tell us about past and present perceptions of the war years in France and how they relate to post-war debates over memory, culture and national identity.

Starting with narratives of the Resistance in the late 1940s and concluding with contemporary crime fiction for younger readers, Gorrara examines popular memories of the Second World War in dialogue with the changing social, cultural and political contexts of remembrance in post-war France. From memories of the persecution of Jews and French collaboration to the legacies of the concentration camps and the figure of the survivor-witness, all the crime novels discussed grapple with the challenges of what it means to live in the shadow of such a past for generations past, present and future.