cover image Epic Annette: A Heroine’s Tale

Epic Annette: A Heroine’s Tale

Anne Weber, trans. from the German by Tess Lewis. Indigo, $18.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-911-64845-1

In this unique biography (the author’s English-language debut), culture writer Weber casts the real-life French freedom fighter Annette Beaumanoir (1923–2022) as the heroine of an epic poem written in free verse. Born in Brittany, at 16 Annette made contacts in the French resistance during WWII while attending medical school in Rennes. She partook in missions delivering packages and hanging up posters and once aided Jews hiding from the Gestapo. Following the war, Annette became a renowned neurophysiologist, married, and bore three children. Yet she was drawn into revolutionary politics again when, dismayed by the brutality of French colonial rule, she joined Algeria’s separatist National Liberation Front, serving as a courier and chauffeur within France. Captured in 1959, Annette was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but escaped and fled to Algeria, where she helped build a better healthcare system, until she fled following a coup in 1965. According to Weber, Annette’s ideals cost her greatly: “she has forfeited her three children/ for the sake of a sovereign state that, in a very short time,/ in the just three years, has turned into a military dictatorship.” Narrated in a colloquial voice, this is an accessible chronicle of a humanitarian who refused to bow to political disillusionment. Weber’s epic lives up to its form. (May)