A Very Long Engagement by Sébastien Japrisot
Published by Picador on November 15th 2004
Len's Summary: A young, polio-crippled Frenchwoman, Mathilde Donnay, investigates the web of deception that shrouds the fate of five soldiers condemned for self-inflicted wounds. All five, including her fiancé, are reported dead. Refusing to believe this, the shrewd Mathilde hires a private detective, enlists the help of family and acquaintance and travels far and wide to unravel the cover-up and find her missing lover. Told at many levels and in many voices, the is at once a war novel, mystery and a love story.. The author uses many techniques including documents, flashbacks and brief, but brilliant character sketches to paint a vivid vision of wartime and postwar France. Winner of the prestigious Prix Interallie in 1991, and a best-seller in France, this novel received well deserved praise in the United States when it was first published here in translation in 1996. A movie based on it was released in 2004 and was subsequently nominated for two Academy Awards.