“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.
Well this broke my heart !
A stunningly illustrated graphic novel that tells the tale of women in France during World War 2…
Virginie’s grandmother, admits she never loved her husband Raymond, but she had been in love once…
The story then goes back to the war, in France. Rose lives with her young son, Lucien, her husband Raymond is away, a prisoner of war. She is a nurse and she is helping young Anael, a young Jewish boy who is hiding with his mother in the same building…
There is also Josephine, she works at a cabaret….but is really an ‘escort’…the only way she can survive, but she is struggling to cope and there is tragedy ahead…
Madame Flament, an elderly woman, who appears a bit dotty, but this is not the case….can she be trusted…..can anyone?
Young Rose falls in love with a German soldier…..they keep their trysts secret as no one would understand….
Camille the blind man is loved by all and although he is blind he sees more than anyone….
A beautiful story that shows the awful circumstances many women found themselves in and the effects of war on those left at home alone…..what they had to do just to survive, with love, loss, domestic violence, tragedy and betrayal…..a stunning read..
Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics.
Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.