|About the Book|
A Chicken and a Candle is the memoir of the childhood and young adulthood of Suzanne Regnier, in France during the World War II and the immediate post war era. But it is more than just a memoir- it is the evocation of a unique period of EuropeanMoreA Chicken and a Candle is the memoir of the childhood and young adulthood of Suzanne Regnier, in France during the World War II and the immediate post war era. But it is more than just a memoir- it is the evocation of a unique period of European history, and a fascinating cast of characters that made up the world of the unique woman. Readers will meet Tonton Dede, her plump, terot card-reading grandmother- diminutive, politically-radical Memere Regnier, her other grandmother- Remi, her first love- Mrs. Vilbert, the tyrannical headmistress of the Pension de Fleurs- Suzannes husband, Bob Sanford- her volatile step-mother- and perhaps most of all, her father. The result is an enchanting melange of personalities who come alive in indelible portraits of humor, veniality, selfishness, and tender affection. The reader will also discover the disparate worlds of cosmopolitan and provincal France as the Regniers travel about the country during the traumatic German occupation of France, and the dramatic restructuring of postwar French society: Beauce, Provence, Aix, St. Leu, Chauvry, Chartres, the Riviera, and Paris. As Suzanne matures into an adolescent suffering from a temperamentally unpredictable step-mother and an emotionally distant father, she experience a bewildering life that fluctuates between loving acceptance and aloof rejection. Suzannes description of her varied careers as governs to the children of one of Frances wealthiest families, secretary, salesperson for a publisher, and translator at an American air base, where she met her future husband, reveals with subtle insight the complexity of human nature, with its combination of selfish mendacity compassionate tenderness. But most of all, A Chicken and a Candle is the touching flowering of a sensitive young woman, forged from a difficult childhood punctuated by a heart-rendering search for love and acceptance. As the story unfolds, the metaphorical significance of the title becomes apparent in Suzannes anguished attempt to resolve her ambivalent feelings toward her father, and search for happiness. It is an unforgettable odyssey of complex relationships interwoven by sorrow and joy, tragedy and farce, and ultimately by love and compassion, told often with dry humor by a gifted raconteur.