Epic Annette: A Heroine’s Tale


Anne Weber

Translated by Tess Lewis

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eBook available to purchase in August 2022

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SKU: 978-1911648451 Category:

B Format paperback 198mm x 129mm with flaps
192 pages
25 August 2022
ISBN 978-1911648451
Cover design © Luke Bird

Epic Annette: A Heroine’s Tale is the story of real-life Anne Beaumanoir, a courageous, brilliant woman born in Brittany in 1923. Guided by a passion for justice and a fervent belief in self-determination she joined the French Resistance while studying medicine in Rennes, and then moved to Paris at the age of nineteen.

She disobeyed two key tenets of her Resistance network, by falling in love and by unilaterally deciding to save the lives of two Jewish children. Punished by being posted apart from her lover, who was subsequently murdered, she married and settled into post-war bourgeois professional success and domesticity in Marseille, giving birth to two sons.

The need to stand up for her beliefs persuaded her to put that comfortable life at risk by supporting the Algerian FLN in France, resulting in her being imprisoned in 1959 while pregnant with a third child, and tried for treachery. After making a dramatic escape she then served in the Ministry of Health under newly-independent Algeria’s first president Ben Bella until his overthrow in 1965. Exiled from her homeland, having been found guilty in absentia and sentenced to ten years in prison, she moved to Switzerland and worked in a clinic there until an amnesty allowed her to return to France.

These are the bones of Annette’s story. Anne Weber sings them brilliantly to life, showing us the drama behind the facts in supple, lyrical free verse beautifully translated into English by Tess Lewis. But she does more than that; in a series of Homeric asides she discusses the ethical and philosophical aspects of Annette’s life choices, and the emotional pain and grief trailed in their wake. Annette resembles the great heroes Odysseus and Aeneas; her character is her destiny, peripatetic, always exploring, ultimately not tragic but not without costly personal sacrifice.

The book was written in German and rewritten in French by the author. The translator, Tess Lewis, has worked with both versions, synthesising them into a lyrical English-language novel in verse.


‘A bold and moving exploration of the ethics of heroism’
The Times Literary Supplement
Review of the German Edition

‘It pushes linguistic, narrative and genre conventions to their limits, while posing big ethical questions, as its heroine’s idealism comes up against dirty realpolitik.’
The Times Literary Supplement
Review of the German Edition

‘A reading delight from start to finish’
Die Süddeutsche Zeitung
Review of the German Edition

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