The book ends with Jean not only for spilling the blood of others but also once again treated differently from those around him. He is also left without Helene who dies in his arms after being injured in a mission that Jean feels he could have stopped her from carrying out. Again there is a real sense here of the no win situation the resistance were in because for every Nazi they killed the retribution against their countrymen was severe.
At the risk of pre-empting a review it is safe to say that would be a great companion piece to the Jean-Paul Sartre’s Road to Freedom trilogy with the same themes and the same feelings covered.
Bullet points between pages 220 – 240
* Helene is shaken out of her plodding routine by her Jewish friend Yvonne who has to go into hiding because the Germans are rounding up the Jews and deporting them back to the concentration camps
* Helene witnesses a woman being torn apart from her baby with the soldiers assuring her that they will soon be reunited and the woman cries her name “Ruth” as the truck carries her away
* After those two incidents Helene goes to call on Jean to try and get Yvonne away into the free zone and asks if she can work for him and although reluctant he accepts because it is not his place to decide other people’s decisions
* He wants to go in her place but the committee has decreed that he is too important to the organisation and cannot risk his life – something that again separates him from the workingmen and women around him making him feel bourgeois
* Helene must have been wounded and she lays dying and does so finally in his arms and all the time Laurent, one of the resistance fighters keeps asking Jean if he will agree to laying a bomb, something that will be paid for with the death of hostages the German’s will shoot in reprisals
* Jean has already faced the wrath of his mother who told him to turn himself over to the authorities and face the consequences of his actions rather than let other people die but that along with his guilt for Helene and his friends is the guilt he is carrying
A review will follow shortly…