Georges Magnane: Où l’herbe ne pousse plus (Where the Grass No Longer Grows)

The latest addition to my website is Où l’herbe ne pousse plus (Where the Grass No Longer Grows). The novel is a fictionalised account of a historical event – the massacre of a643 inhabitants of a French village in 1944. Magnane has created a fictional village, Verrièges, and we follow the events there. The French villagers are shown to be ordinary people, making their living primarily from farming. They have been relatively spared the worst of the war, when an SS troop, heading towards Normandy to help repulse the Allies after D-Day, hears that weapons have been hidden in the village. When they cannot find them, they massacre the entire village. The Germans are shown to be vicious and evil, though the massacre is prompted by one particular vicious Nazi. It is very skilfully done as Magnane compares the evil Nazis with the ordinary, but not always saintly French.

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