Wallner, Michael 1958-
Wallner, Michael 1958-
Born 1958, in Graz, Austria.
Actor, film director, and screenwriter.
Cliehms Begabung: Roman, Frankfurter Verlagsanstalt (Frankfurt on Main, Germany), 2000.
Manhattan Fliegt: Roman, Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 2000.
Haut: Roman, Reclam (Leipzig, Germany), 2002.
Finale: Roman, Rowohlt (Berlin, Germany), 2003.
April in Paris: Roman, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 2006, translation by John Cullen published as April in Paris, Nan A. Talese (New York, NY), 2007.
Zwischen Den Gezeiten: Roman, Luchterhand (Munich, Germany), 2007.
Michael Wallner is a German film director, actor, and screenwriter who has also written several well-received novels. The first of his novels translated into English, April in Paris, concerns a love affair between an unenthusiastic Nazi soldier and a French woman during World War II. Corporal Roth's assignment as a member of the Gestapo is to serve as the translator during Nazi interrogations of suspected French Resistance members. He tries to repress the brutality he witnesses by wandering through Paris at night, sans military uniform, where he blends into the landscape by assuming an alter ego, "Monsieur Antoine," whose fluent French is devoid of any tell-tale Teutonic traces.
The woman he falls in love with, Chantal, is a member of a Resistance group that meets in the barbershop where she works. He trails her incessantly, obsessed with her beauty and possibly because it provides him an escape from the grim reality of his job. They meet furtively, sporadically; their relationship is unable to flourish under such oppressive and dishonest circumstances. They are both at a Paris nightclub when it is bombed by the Resistance and several German officers are killed. Roth is charged with treason and interrogated viciously, becoming the victim of his colleagues' harsh tactics. Chantal disappears and Roth vows to find her, thrusting him into a moral dilemma he could never have imagined.
Reviewers praised the tragic love story at the heart of Wallner's novel, as well as its description of war-torn Paris, which a writer for Kirkus Reviews deemed an "unsettling, unsparingly visceral evocation" of the city of lights. "Wallner rises above this overused plotline with his stylish, readable language," wrote Sarah Johnson in Booklist. Joseph Finder wrote in the New York Times Book Review that although Roth is "a cipher, a pallid, apolitical character who doesn't really weigh the moral ramifications of his actions," Wallner nevertheless writes "with spare elegance, and he evokes war-ravaged Paris with a deft touch."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, February 15, 2007, Sarah Johnson, review of April in Paris, p. 37.
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2007, review of April in Paris, p. 97.
Library Journal, February 1, 2007, Bette-Lee Fox, review of April in Paris, p. 65.
New York Times Book Review, June 3, 2007, Joseph Finder, review of April in Paris.
Book Page,http://www.bookpage.com/ (December 20, 2007), Meredith McGuire, review of April in Paris.
Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (December 20, 2007), Kate Ayers, review of April in Paris.
Geist Magazine,http://www.geist.com/ (December 20, 2007), Patty Osborne, review of April in Paris.