It is 1936, and Albert B. is one of the first French citizens to join the Fascist party. During the war, he becomes a collaborator. It’s only a matter of time before he dons a German uniform himself. Taking place in the limbo between the moment of Albert’s initial “fall” and his inevitable capture, following the Allied invasion of Mainau, The Laurels of Lake Constance is the story not only of Albert himself, but of his daughter, who must endure the paradox of loving a man whose beliefs and allegiances are nothing short of catastrophic.
Beautifully translated by novelist Harry Mathews, The Laurels of Lake Constance is a profoundly moving story about both war and childhood, and their intersection in one household, conjured in all its details, be they beautiful or shameful: a resigned mother playing music, a father absent, an era frozen in a tragic fresco where novelistic detail mixes with history.