Thursday, 12 July 2012


August 2012, 352 pages

            This intense, psychological novel features a pilot who participated in the bombing of Hiroshima and was profoundly traumatized by the experience, and a reporter who is both obsessed with the pilot and muzzled by the media. It plunges us straight into the Cold War era, and the first ravages of nuclear power.

Texas, 1949. Rose Martha Calter is a young photo-journalist whose job is to take pictures of local new stories for a few papers based in Texas. On one of her assignments, she learns about the existence of a certain Claude Eatherly, who, four years earlier, had been one of the pilots for the air convoy that  dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima.

Eatherly, who is initially reticent to discuss the subject, eventually declines into petty crime and short stays in a psychiatric ward. He is constantly proclaiming his overwhelming sense of guilt about having participated in killing all those civilians. He leaves Rose a written document of several pages of confession and repentance.

But in the middle of the Cold War, no one wants to hear this dissident interpretation of the American victory. Because of her obsession with Eatherly, Rose will spend her life trying to prove the pilot’s sincerity, without ever managing to definitively establish to what extent the charismatic man had truly been affected by the experience and to what extent he was simply trying to take advantage of his 15 minutes of fame.

Subtle, sincere and profound, this novel dissects the traumatisms, obsessions and strengths of master manipulators. A unique point of view on the problems of the last century.

            A journalist, Marc Durin-Valois is the author of several novels that were loved by both the public and the critics, including: NOIR PROPHÈTE (2006), L’EMPIRE DES SOLITUDES (2003) and CHAMELLE (2002; adapted for the cinema). The author has received nearly a dozen literary awards, including the Prix des cinq continents de la Francophonie and the Prix National Culture et Bibliothèques.