Bad Faith [Click the title
to buy this book]
by Carmen Callil
In 1960, Carmen Callil, a young Australian living in London, began seeing a psychiatrist named Anne Darquier, only a few years older than she. After a decade of therapy, Darquier was found dead one September morning with a lethal combination of barbiturates and alcohol in her system. A year later, watching the French documentary Le Chagrin et La Pitié (The Sorrow and the Pity) about the German Occupation of France, Callil noticed that a Vichy official mentioned in the subtitles had the same last name as her therapist. After looking into the matter, she learned that Anne had been the abandoned daughter of Louis Darquier, the commissioner for Jewish Affairs, responsible for the despoliation and deportation of Jews in France.
Thirty-five years later, this discovery would lead to the publication of Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family and Fatherland. The book, which traces the lives of Louis Darquier and his Australian wife, Myrtle Jones, offers not only a look at a somber history that led to genocide, but also a fascinating exploration of two fabulists manipulating everyone around them.
There are legions of books about the war years in France, from both French and foreign pens, but with this book, which follows the life of just one man, Callil casts a new light on France between the wars, and on its inexorable momentum toward a low-grade civil war between its republicans and its rabid nationalist, anti-Semitic fascist leagues. Callil devotes a significant portion of her 600-page tome to giving readers an in-depth understanding of the period as it was experienced in multiple locales; beyond France, we are taken to Myrtle’s (and Callil's) native Australia, as well as to 1920s London and to Spain through several decades following the war.