Thursday, March 11, 2021

"While Paris Slept"

Ruth Druart grew up on the Isle of Wight, leaving at eighteen to study psychology. In 1993 she moved to Paris, the city that inspired her to write While Paris Slept. There she pursued a career in international education and raised three sons with her French husband. She recently left her teaching position, so she can write full time while running her writing group in Paris.

Druart applied the Page 69 Test to While Paris Slept and reported the following:
Page 69 is about collaboration during the occupation of Paris. Charlotte, aged 18, is working in German hospital, and her friends are concerned that people may think she is collaborating with the Nazis.

If a browsing potential reader started with this page, they would get a good idea of the setting and tone of the book. The conversation the young women are having about Nazism and collaboration is designed to make the reader question how ordinary people would have coped under an enemy occupation. Some people would have resisted at all costs, even prepared to sacrifice their own lives for their moral conscience - the true heroes. Others would have seen what could be in it for them - the collabos. But I imagined that the vast majority of people were just trying to survive and protect their families, and so compromises were made. And this is how Charlotte finds herself working as a nursing assistant in a German hospital. It is not an 'action' chapter and therefore doesn't show the tension that runs through the novel, of which there is plenty!

Also, collaboration is one of the many themes weaving through While Paris Slept, but not the main theme, which is about parental love, and the lengths one mother will go to in order to protect her child.
Visit Ruth Druart's website.

--Marshal Zeringue