by Nathalie Gara, Ladislas Gara
Translated by Bill Reed
A moving and witty portrayal of a family and community in turmoil during the Second World War. It is 1942 and the sleepy village of Saint-Boniface in the Ardèche has become stuffed with refugees from all over France and indeed Europe. Expats, exiles and migrant Jews all mingle together. Daily life is shambolic. Several Jewish families have washed up in Saint-Boniface, lodged in guest houses and rented farmhouses, they are attempting to carve out a new life for themselves among the folded hills and isolated farmsteads. Battling against the bureaucracy and paperwork of Vichy-France and the spectre of the Germans closing in on the Free Zone, the families struggle to get used to the local ways, just as the locals struggle to accept them. From the non-existent toilets and lack of electricity to black market dealings and the self-serving, sadistic gendarme, life in Saint-Boniface is challenging and spirited. Welcome to the Free Zone is a vivid and dark humoured novel based on the true story of Nathalie and Ladislas Gara, who take on the role of the Verès family in the book. Originally published in 1946 this new translation with revive this extraordinary tale.
Publication date: 26/07/2013