Uncovering The Truth
The Sailor From Casablanca by Charline Malaval is a marvellous dual timeline novel – 1940 France and Casablanca and 2005 in Casablanca. The tale follows a sailor, full of life and vigour, and a young woman’s search for the truth about her grandfather after finding some wartime letters.
War is a terrible thing. It alters people beyond recognition – bodies return but minds are left behind. “The war [WWI] buried him alive” – not physically but mentally. The war to end all wars returned a generation of men who were shadows of themselves. “It wasn’t that we were brave in the trenches; we simply had no choice.”
Young men in the 1930’s failed to see another war looming as they signed up for the French navy. War is not glamorous. War changes boys into men, and men into heroes. In war there is always the choice to be made – to do your duty or to dessert. This dilemma is explored throughout the novel in an attempt to uncover the truth.
The novel explores relationships – within a marriage, and also delves into the seedier side of sex workers and one night stands.
War has a habit of focussing the mind. We have to decide who and what is most important to us.
There are multiple narrators within the novel in 1940 but just one in 2005. We see the thoughts about events and characters from various points of view.
The Sailor From Casablanca was a well-constructed novel which I enjoyed. I think it would make a marvellous movie.
I received this book for free. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.