By Marguerite Yourcenar
Translation through Grace Fink & Yourcenar
Set within the Baltic provinces within the aftermath of global conflict I, Coup de Grace tells the tale of an intimacy that grows among 3 adolescents hemmed in by means of civil conflict: Erick, a Prussian battling with the White Russians opposed to the Bolsheviks; Conrad, his ally from early life; and Sophie, whose unrequited love for Conrad turns into an insufferable burden.
"The eerie influence of [Yourcenar's] prose . . . is all of the extra notable in that she was once now not found in Lithuania within the years instantly following global battle I. Her accomplishment is like that of Stephen Crane within the purple Badge of braveness or Stendahl's within the Waterloo chapters of The Charterhouse of Parma." --Louis Auchincloss, the recent York instances e-book Review
About the Author
Marguerite Yourcenar (1903-87) wrote performs, tales, poems, and novels, awesome Memoirs of Hadrian. She was once the 1st lady to be elected to the Academie Francaise.
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Extra resources for Coup de Grace
A pitiable command it was, and we took it over, Conrad and I, in more pitiable condition still, all caked with mud past recognition even for the very dogs of Kratovitsy, who barked at our approach. We did not arrive till the last hour of the blackest of black nights. Doubtless proving my knowledge of topography, we had floundered till dawn in the marshes, hardly two paces from the Reds’ advance posts. Our brothers in arms, who were still at table, rose to greet us, and helped us into dressing gowns which had been Conrad’s in better days and were now generously restored to us ornamented with spots and riddled with holes from burning cigar ash.
So I was bound to be mistaken about Sophie, and all the more that her voice, now brusque, now tender, her cropped hair, short smocks and heavy shoes perpetually en crusted with mud made her seem to me but a brother to her brother. I was wrong, of course, then saw my error; then came the day, at last, when in that same error I discovered the one substantial element of truth that I have ever encountered in my 30 31 life. Meanwhile, to complicate matters further, my feeling for Sophie was just that sense of easy fa miliarity that a man has for boys who are of no special interest to him.
So, whenever you wish, do you under stand ? And even if it’s not serious. . ” We were both too young to be entirely natural, but Sophie had a disconcerting honesty and direct- Coup de Grace ness which increased the chances for misunderstand ing between us. Nothing but a pine table, still smell ing of resin, separated me from this girl who was offering herself without further ado; though I kept on dotting indications in ink on the worn ordnance map before me, my hand grew less and less sure.