Bad Faith tells the story of one of history's most despicable villains and conmen - Louis Darquier, Nazi collaborator and 'Commissioner for Jewish Affairs', who dissembled his way to power in the Vichy government and was responsible for sending thousands of children to the gas chambers. After the war he left France, never to be brought to justice.
Early on in his career Louis married the alcoholic Myrtle Jones from Tasmania, equally practised in the arts of fantasy and deception, and together they had a child, Anne whom they abandoned in England. Her tragic story is woven through the narrative.
In Carmen Callil's masterful, elegiac and sometimes darkly comic account, Darquier's rise during the years leading up to the Second World War mirrors the rise of French anti-Semitism. Epic, haunting, the product of extraordinary research, this is a study in powerlessness, hatred and the role of remembrance.
Shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize.
A superb exploration of the fractured mind of French anti-Semitism
The story she has uncovered is so strange and powerful that it would be an unusual reader who was not profoundly moved
A work of phenomenally thorough, generous and humane scholarship....Callil understands anguish, and lays bare its causes with clarity and precision. Bad Faith exemplifies what Primo Levi called the 'continuous intellectual and moral effort' that is the only adequate response to the events described here
Bad Faith is a book of passion and anger which, nonetheless, manages to keep its head as a significant work of history
We cannot know what Anne Darquier would have thought of Callil's book, but my guess is that she would have been as moved, astonished and impressed as any other reader