Commentary
5:00 am
Mon September 24, 2012

Book Review: Léon and Louise

Set in France beginning in 1918, Léon and Louise is the love story of two teenagers who meet as World War I is drawing to a close. Separated during a German artillery attack, each is severely wounded and believes the other to be dead.

10 years later, both are living and working in Paris. They catch a glimpse of each other on passing metro trains. Léon is married now with small children, but his wife encourages a search for Louise, knowing that their marriage can’t move forward while Léon’s heart remains in the past.

Léon and Louise do find each other, and they realize that what began as teenagers was true love. Louise refuses to destroy Léon’s marriage, and the two agree to stay apart. Though unfulfilled, theirs is a love that survives two world wars and endures for a lifetime.

I first heard about Léon and Louise from a publisher’s representative who simply could not give it enough praise. What’s so remarkable about a book publisher praising a book? Léon and Louise is from a publishing house that he doesn’t even represent.

Alex Capus is a French-Swiss novelist who writes in German. Léon and Louise was long-listed for the German Book Prize. The highly anticipated English release is scheduled for next month.

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