The Paris Architect by Charles Belfoure

parisbookcover.phpCharles Belfoure’s The Paris Architect is set during the Nazi invasion of France. It illustrates how Parisians were affected and how they had to use all their willpower to just survive this era. They could keep quiet or turn the other way when they saw how the Jews were being treated. Some even gave away their Jewish neighbors’ whereabouts, if they thought they would be targeted by the Gestapo themselves. Lucien Bernard, whose whole life ambition is to be a well-known architect, lives in this scenario.

When a rich industrialist asks him to build an ingenious hiding place for a wealthy Jewish friend, Lucien agrees because of the money he is offered. As a result he also gets a big German contract and is able to design buildings to his heart’s content. He earns praise for it, which is every architect’s dream. But Lucian slowly begins to feel empathy for the pain and helplessness of others. He changes without knowing it himself. He falls in love with a wonderful woman, saves a life of a Jewish boy whom he starts loving like a son and somehow is able to have a family to call his own.

This piece of fiction shows us two facets of human values, one in which humans go to extremes to harm other humans and the other of courage, morality and humanity.

This was a really interesting read!

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