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Another Southern Duo.
In 1963, North Carolina poet Henry Beam published a collection of poems, claiming they had been saved from a Nazi death camp. The controversy over authorship that followed cost Henry his teaching position and forced him into decades of silence. Then, thirty-four years after the book’s publication, Henry breaks his silence and begins telling grad student Rachel Singer about his year in Paris, his entanglement with the fiery right-wing politician Renard Marcotte, his love affair with the shop girl Eugenié, and his unnerving encounter with the enigmatic René, the man who supposedly gave Henry the disputed poems. The novel moves from 1997 North Carolina to post-World War I France, to Paris in the mid-50s and into the horror of the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Even while Rachel wonders how much is true, Henry’s story forces her to examine her own life and the secret she has never acknowledged.