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Aréga, Léon


ARÉGA, LÉON (1908– ), French novelist. Born in Przasnysz (Poland), Aréga volunteered for the French Army on the outbreak of World War ii, was captured, and made three escapes from German p.o.w. camps. After the Liberation he received a French decoration for his gallantry. Aréga began writing soon after the war and published Comme si c'était fini (1946), A l'Essai (1951), Le même fleuve (1954), Pseudonymes (1957), and Aucune trace (1963). He also wrote another novel, La main sur la bouche (1965), in collaboration with Thérèse Sandrau. In all of Aréga's stories, written in a rhythmic, musical style, the main theme is failure resulting from the unhappy circumstances which the author regards as universal. Only in the autobiographical Comme si c'était fini does this pervasive theme of failure assume a Jewish coloring. Here Aréga describes the fate of a typically Jewish hero, a foreign Jew living in France who volunteers for service in the French Army. No matter how hard he tries, the Jew is never accepted by his French comrades as one of themselves; nor, when he is taken prisoner, do the Germans regard him as a Frenchman.

[Arnold Mandel]

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