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CanLit150

Celebrate more than 150 years of Canada with 150 books.

Frances Itani Recommends

Villa Air-Bel by Rosemary Sullivan

Villa Air-Bel (2006)

(From HarperCollins)

France, 1940. The once glittering boulevards of Paris teem with spies, collaborators, and the Gestapo now that France has fallen to Hitler's Wermacht. For André Breton, Max Ernst, Marc Chagall, Consuelo de Saint-Exupéry, and scores of other cultural elite who have been denounced as enemies of the Third Reich the fear of imminent arrest, deportation, and death defines their daily life. Their only salvation is the Villa Air-Bel, a château outside Marseille where a group of young people will go to extraordinary lengths to keep them alive.
A powerfully told, meticulously researched true story filled with suspense, drama, and intrigue, Villa Air-Bel delves into a fascinating albeit hidden saga in our recent history. It is a remarkable account of how a diverse intelligentsia—intense, brilliant, and utterly terrified—was able to survive one of the darkest chapters of the twentieth century.

Rosemary Sullivan

(From HarperCollins)

Rosemary Sullivan has written poetry, short fiction, biography, literary criticism, reviews, and articles. Her recent books include the critically acclaimed Villa Air-Bel,
Labyrinth of Desire, and the award winning biography Stalin's Daughter. She is a professor emeritus at the University of Toronto and has been awarded Guggenheim, Camargo, and Trudeau Fellowships. She is a recipient of the Lorne Pierce Medal, awarded by the Royal Society of Canada for her contribution to literature and culture, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.