cover image Léon and Louise

Léon and Louise

Alex Capus, trans. from the German by John Brownjohn. Haus (Consortium, dist.), $15 trade paper (266p) ISBN 978-1-908323-13-2

In the summer of 1918, in the French village of Saint-Luc-sur-Marne, during WWI, Léon Le Gall is experiencing love for the first time, falling for Louise Janvier when she passes by on her “old gentleman’s” bicycle. The two grow close, but they are caught in artillery fire and separated, each presuming the other dead. Ten years later, Léon is living in Paris, married to another woman, and raising a four-year-old child. Though he is committed to his new responsibilities, a glimpse of Louise at a train station one day creates a dilemma: to do what he should or to do what he wants? Swiss author Capus (A Matter of Time) is an apt storyteller who captures the complexities of love and the hardships of everyday life with a keen eye. On its surface, this is a story about enduring love. But it is also about the way that power can be abused, particularly in times of war, and the daily sacrifices people make to preserve what they hold most dear. (Oct.)