Lettre à un otage by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Download (read online) free eBook .pdf.epub.kindle

Lettre à un otage

The acclaimed aviator and adventurer wrote this letter while waiting in Portugal for a passage to the U.S., having just escaped the terrors of war-torn France, and dedicated it to the 40 million Frenchmen, hostages of the Germans. Saint-Exupéry’s observations on the aimless existence of his fellow exiles in Lisbon filled with parties, gambling, and spies leads him to exami


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    Kim


    Prior to reading this very short work, my only exposure to the writing of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was The Little Prince. (I spent a number of years in the French education system and no child gets out of a French school without reading that book. At least, that was the case when I was a child.) Now I really want to read more of his work.

    Saint-Exupéry wrote the book as a tribute to his close friend Léon Werth, a French Jewish writer and art critic to whom The Little Prince was dedicated*. At th

    Saint-Exupéry wrote the book as a tribute to his close friend Léon Werth, a French Jewish writer and art critic to whom The Little Prince was dedicated*. At the time, France was under German occupation. At the beginning of the war, Saint-Exupéry, a well known commercial pilot and author, joined the French air force. He flew missions over Germany and when France fell to the Nazis, Saint-Expupéry escaped via Lisbon and spent more than two years in New York. There he encouraged the United States to enter the war against the Nazis. For the whole period of the war, Werth remained in France, living in hiding in a village in the Jura.

    The work is an ode to friendship and to love of country. While Werth is the hostage of the title, Saint-Exupéry saw all French people living under occupation as hostages and the work speaks of the strength of his feeling for them and for France. The prose is beautiful and the sentiments it expresses powerful. This is one of those books that has something to underline on every page. The French edition that I read includes an introduction by Françoise Gerbod, which provides an excellent overview and analysis of the work.

    I love this book. It took less than an hour to read and never was an hour better spent. Thank you to my GR friend Chaymâa, whose review alerted me to the existence of the work.

    * The English translation of the dedication to Werth in The Little Prince reads:

    To Leon Werth

    I ask children to forgive me for dedicating this book to a grown-up. I have a serious excuse: this grown-up is the best friend I have in the world. I have another excuse: this grown-up can understand everything, even books for children. I have a third excuse: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs to be comforted. If all these excuses are not enough then I want to dedicate this book to the child whom this grown-up once was. All grown-ups were children first. (But few of them remember it.) So I correct my dedication:

    To Leon Werth,
    When he was a little boy
    …more

    metaphor

    That is impressive, the age of a man! That summarises all his life. This maturity of his has taken a long time to achieve. It has grown through so many obstacles conquered, so many serious illnesses cured, so many griefs appeased, so many despairs overcome, so many dangers unconsciously passed. It has grown through so many desires, so many hopes, so many regrets, so many lapses, so much love. The age of a man, that represents a good load of experience and memories. In spite of decoys, jolts, and

    As, like anyone else, I need to be appreciated, I feel pure in you and come to you. I need to go where I am pure. Neither my sayings nor my doings have taught you who I am. But because you have accepted me as I am, you are indulgent, when necessary, towards those doings and sayings. I know that you are prepared to accept me as I am. What could I do with a friend who would judge me? When I welcome a friend, if he is lame, I invite him to sit down and do not ask him to dance.

    My friend, I need you as one needs a space where one can breathe. I need to sit by you, once more, on the banks of the Saône, with my elbows on the table of a little old wooden inn, and to invite two bargees, and to drink with them in the peace of a smile like the day.
    …more

    Lily

    Oct 04, 2012

    rated it
    it was amazing

     · 
    review of another edition

    A beautiful letter to all that he loved and left behind. It’s about friends and humanity, and what holds all of us together, and respect of men.

    Part II touched me the most. We all need someone to return to, and if we have lost them, the city becomes empty. We don’t miss a place, we miss the people left there; and if this link with the homeland disappears, what is left?

    Sait-Exupery reminds us of the importance of diversity. The Nazis had a human ideal and they exterminated those who differed from

    Part II touched me the most. We all need someone to return to, and if we have lost them, the city becomes empty. We don’t miss a place, we miss the people left there; and if this link with the homeland disappears, what is left?

    Sait-Exupery reminds us of the importance of diversity. The Nazis had a human ideal and they exterminated those who differed from it. But if all humans were the same, progress would be impossible, creative thought would disappear. We need conflicts of thought and word to fulfil ourselves and the world. Being different is not only okay, it is good. Even nowadays we all need someone to remind us that.
    …more