Vintage Books, Paperback, 9781400095858, 160pp.
Publication Date: February 13, 2007
On June 6, 1944, Frederick Giesbert, assigned to the American army’s 29th division, landed on bloody Omaha Beach, Normandy, an experience from which he never recovered. Three years later, Frederick had returned to his hometown of Chicago, married to a French girl. But when the seemingly happy couple moved to Normandy to make a home with their baby, something in Frederick snapped, and he turned cruel and violent. His son, Franz-Oliver, spent his childhood doing everything he could to defy his father. The American is a son’s fiercely honest and emotionally gripping story of a search for paternal understanding and forgiveness.
“[An] astonishingly frank memoir of self-discovery and self-loathing.” –The Philadelphia Inquirer
“Says as much about the events in Normandy in 1944 as do many of the far weightier texts that it can honorably sit beside.”
“What Giesbert does well in his work . . . is to instill his prose with the haunting that forever chases the abused child, long after that child becomes an adult.” –Rocky Mountain News
“This dark story, in the tradition of Maupassant, is a miracle: gaiety, imagination, the drive to understand, and also tenderness. . . . It has perhaps never been better show how war continues long after its end and is spread from father to son.” –Le Nouvel Observateur