Most helpful positive review
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A real discovery -- brilliant!
on October 3, 2012
I read this wonderful novel shortly after finishing Mission to Paris by Alan Furst, who is far better known than Steiner. Both books are set in France during World War II, but The Resistance by Steiner is far more ambitious, nuanced and complex. Although technically also a thriller, it transcends the genre and takes on large moral issues that linger in a reader's mind. The suspense doesn't start building till the third chapter or so, but I got so absorbed in it that I didn't want it to end. The story is very atmospheric, conveying the deadly and wrenching nature of daily life under enemy occupation. It follows a set of ordinary French villagers forced to resist or collaborate with their new Nazi rulers. The characters face successive dilemmas and get swept up in dangerous events, sometimes taking sides by default rather than choice. The mysteries of the plot are bound up with the moral ambiguities of the situation in which these hapless characters find themselves. Which side is each person on? Can you trust your oldest friends? Not all resistance fighters are noble. Not all Nazis, or people who consort with them, are evil. Who are the real heroes, in the novel and in life? As you reach the end of the story, there's a succession of breathtaking, but completely plausible, surprises.
The Resistance is a real find - civilized, well paced and important. I loved it.