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Serpent's Tail, 2011 - Domestic fiction - 306 pages
19 Reviews
First published in 1930, Fear graphically describes the terrible experiences of soldiers during World War I. It tells the story of Jean Dartemont, a young bourgeois who is called up in 1915. He is not a rebel, but as an intellectual, he is less awed by hierarchical authority. After an exceedingly short training period, he refuses to follow his platoon and is sent to Artois in the trenches. With absolute realism, Gabriel Chevallier depicts what he experienced everyday, for months: violence, the blood, death, the bodies...'Is that what war is about?' the conscript wonders. 'Their war', thinks Jean, that of the high command big shots, the politicians far from the lines of combat. One day, he is wounded, evacuated and hospitalized. To the nurses, who consider it their duty to stimulate the soldiers' fighting spirit, Jean, when asked what he did at the front, replied: 'I was afraid'.

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Review: Fear: A Novel of World War I

User Review  - Carolyn Mck - Goodreads

After 100 pages or so I chose not to finish this book but not because of its quality. My father fought in the trenches of the Somme in the first World War, with devastating effects on his ... Read full review

Review: Fear: A Novel of World War I

User Review  - Sarah - Goodreads

Lots of horrifying trench warfare detail but also concise and succinct treatise on the folly of war. He touches on the divide created between combatants and non-combatants, and seems to nail it from ... Read full review

About the author (2011)

Gabriel Chevallier was a French novelist widely known as the author of the satire Clochemerle, which was written in 1934, translated into twenty-six languages and sold several million copies. Born in Lyon, Chevallier was called up at the start of World War I and wounded a year later, but returned to the front where he served as an infantryman until the war's end. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre and Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. La Peur (Fear) was first published in 1930 draws upon his own experiences and forms a damning indictment of the war. He died in 1969.

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