Introduced by Alan Taylor Widely acclaimed as Massie’s finest novel, A Question of Loyalties engages with all the complexities and ambiguities of loyalty, nationality and family as they are put under threat by betrayal, by errors of judgement, or simply friendship. Etienne de Balafré, half French, half English and raised in South Africa, returns to post-war France to unravel the tangled history of his own father. Was Lucien de Balafré a patriot who served his country as best he could in difficult times, or a treacherous collaborator in the Vichy government? Rife with the anguish of hindsight and the irony of circumstance, this powerful book brilliantly explores the ties between fathers and sons and the pains of love and duty in a period of European history that is still characterised by wilful denial and hatred. ‘Miraculous.’ Auberon Waugh ‘I have no hesitation in calling it a major novel . . . Massie here has vigorously pushed back the narrowing boundaries of English fiction. This is a novel of scope, substance and strength all too rare today.’ Spectator ‘Addictively narrated . . . Out of one broken man’s story evolves the weighty history and treachery of a whole era.’ The Times ‘As a prose stylist, Massie can write like an angel . . . taut yet elegiac, epigrammatic yet wistfully lyrical.’ Sunday Telegraph
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