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WeLoveThisBook.com: “The Red Collar may be short but it is a engaging story perceptively told in limpid prose, beautifully translated by Adriana Hunter. It is a serious book but one with a gratifying end.”

Date: Jul 13 2015

Some books can be read in a sitting but have a profound effect. Jean-Christophe Rufin, a co-founder of Medicins Sans Frontieres is also a prize-winning novelist. The Red Collar, his ninth novel, is a simple but powerful novel based on a true story about the love and loyalty of two people, Jacques and Valentine, and a dog, Wilhelm. Wilhelm follows Jacques, a member of the Oriental Expeditionary Force all over Europe and faithfully serves him. All the characters have a different relationship with the dog: some see it as a working dog, Jacques is slightly embarrassed by its faithfulness but other members of his unit regard it as a mascot, almost a comrade-in-arms. Meanwhile Valentine is at home in the Bas-Berry region of France raising their son, Jules, and helping conscientious objectors. When Jacques returns he is imprisoned after causing a scandal at a military parade. The investigating judge, Lantier, wants to mitigate the sentence because of Jacques’ misunderstood heroics during the war but, for political reasons, Jacques wants to be condemned. Lantier loves dogs because when he was young his own dog saved his life during a burglary of the family home at the expense of its own.

The Red Collar may be short but it is a engaging story perceptively told in limpid prose, beautifully translated by Adriana Hunter. It is a serious book but one with a gratifying end.