Monday, May 29, 2023

"The Paris Deception"

Bryn Turnbull is the internationally bestselling author of The Woman Before Wallis and The Last Grand Duchess. With a master of letters in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews, a master of professional communication from Toronto Metropolitan University and a bachelor's degree in English literature from McGill University, Turnbull focuses on finding stories of women lost within the cracks of the historical record.

She applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Paris Deception, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Extraordinary,” Goring breathed, and it felt to Sophie as if she’d stumbled upon an intimate moment, the Reichsmarshall caught in something private, obscene. “Simply extraordinary.” He looked up. “Richter, my dear fellow, come closer.”
Page 69 of The Paris Deception draws readers into the real-life Nazi theft of artworks from Jewish collectors and families. We see Hermann Goring – and Goring’s right-hand man, Richter – negotiate for the seizure of Vermeer’s Astronomer from the ERR, the German art commission responsible for stealing art from its rightful owners, while Rose Valland, a French curator who works within the Jeu de Paume, raises objections that are quickly overlooked.

This page does give readers a good insight into The Paris Deception because it provides the real historical context for the story that follows. The Paris Deception follows two fictional characters on a mission to safeguard looted art by replacing the originals with forgeries, and while their mission is imagined, the theft of artwork by Herman Goring and other high ranking Nazis was only too real. The scene in question illuminates the first of far too many seizures of artwork by Goring himself, who viewed himself as a connoisseur, and was inspired by the real-life memoirs of Rose Valland, who was in the room when the theft of the Vermeer occurred.

One of the most chilling aspects of the Nazi theft and destruction of artwork was the fact that many members of the Nazi top brass considered themselves to be cultured people, dedicated to the preservation of certain kinds of art and literature while destroying whatever they felt to be “ideologically impure”. Starting on page 69, Goring provides his self-serving justification for stealing artwork from Jewish collectors, and to me this is the most terrifying part of the novel: to see how high ranking Nazis were able to reason their way into dehumanizing others. It was an important inclusion, and sets the tone for the many thefts and injustices that follow.

Of course, this event also serves as the inciting incident, so to speak. Sophie, our eyes and ears within the Jeu de Paume, takes Goring’s words and actions as a challenge, and begins to steal works of art to safeguard them for their rightful owners.
Visit Bryn Turnbull's website.

My Book, The Movie: The Paris Deception.

--Marshal Zeringue