The Stars Never Sleep
Number of pages
***Winner, Prix du Roman Historique, 2011***
***Sold in Italy, Russia, and Israel***
There are some stories about the Nazis that have taken a long time to come to light. For the most part they are stories about people rather than troops, the little people rather than the leaders. And often they are the stories that made the closer generations shut their eyes. The Stars Never Sleep looks unblinkingly into the mind of a fictional "ordinary Nazi"—the director of a mental institution—who, at the bidding of the National Socialists, runs a program to eliminate all his patients.
In the autumn of 1945, the Allies are moving across Germany to occupy Berlin. Captain Louyre leads a company of French troops into a southern region of the country with orders to take control of a town. As they approach, the soldiers come upon an isolated farm and make two horrifying discoveries: the charred corpse of a man, and a wild-haired adolescent girl living like a savage. The girl is incapable of offering any explanation for either her desperate state or the presence of the dead body. Since she cannot simply be let go, she is detained. Captain Louyre, on his own and against the wishes of his superiors, embarks on a seemingly quixotic search to find out what happened. The situation, he thinks, may seem insignificant in light of the disasters of the war at large, but he feels it has hidden meaning of a greater order.
In the course of his investigation, he uncovers another "final solution"—one that preceded the Shoah and was in fact a prologue and dress rehearsal for it. He discovers a plan to exterminate the mentally ill and others so classified on the grounds of their "maladjustment" to the Nazi regime.
Marc Dugain : Marc Dugain is the prize-winning and best-selling author of The Officers’ Ward (J. C. Lattès, 1988; Phoenix House, 2000; and Soho Press, 2001; made into the film The Officer’s Ward, 2001), La malédiction d’Edgar (Editions Gallimard, 2005; film in production), Une exécution ordinaire (Gallimard, 2007, made into the acclaimed film An Ordinary Execution, 2010, directed by the author), and L’insomnie des étoiles (Editions Gallimard, 2010), among others. He is also an acclaimed playwright.