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A Frenchman flees his small mountain village to avoid service in World War I in a thoughtful, witty novel about the conflict of patriotism and conscience.
Deep in the Cévennes Mountains of southern France, a man called Roux refuses to heed the call to duty at the outbreak of war in 1914. Instead, he flees and hides in the hills, returning only occasionally to the farm where he left his mother and sisters.
The people of the valley condemn his desertion and hope the police will find his hideout and force him into the army. Then, as the months and the years go by, and the horrors of the trenches become known, the locals begin to understand Roux’s actions—but it is only at the end of the war that his fate will be decided.
In an atmospheric and often witty novel of life during wartime in a rural French community, André Chamson explores the questions of perception and morality, as well as the roles we play in the great historical events of our times.