The Statement: chapters one and two


I’ve just read the first two chapters of the book ‘The Statement’ by Brian Moore. This book is the official English reading book at Advanced Level 1 in the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas (EOI) Yesterday we did and marked in class two exercises about the content of those first two chapters.

CHAPTER ONE

(1) Match the names on the right (1-6) with the names on the left (A-G) There could be more than one possibility.

1. Salon de Provence ………………….. A. Brossard
2. M.Pouliot …………………………….. B. Bar Montana
3. Father Abbot ………………………… C. The Statement
4. Dombey ……………………………… D. David Tanenbaum
5. R. …………………………………….. E. sexy secretary
6. Commissaire Vionnet ………………. F. Abbaye de St. Cros
7. Rosa …………………………………. G. flic
8. letter …………………………………. H. The old man

This were my guesses: 1-B; 2-A,H; 3-F; 4-C; 5-D; 6-G; 7-E; 8-B.

(2) Discuss with your partners why these names are important to the story.

Salon de Provence is a small town in the south of France where the story begins. In a monastery, Abbaye de St. Cros, on a hill near the town, an old man named M. Pouliot (later we discover it’s a cover name) is lodged. This old man drives everyday from the monastery to Salon de Provence and goes to the Bar Montana. There he also receive the post addressed to him. A special letter with money is sent to him every now and then. R. is the name the author gives to a man, later known as David Tannenbaum, from Canada. The latter and the former names are both cover names. We don’t know the real name of the guy. He follows M. Pouliot and have been given orders and paid to kill him.

The killing is an extra judicial execution ordered by a Jewish commando because the old man is Pierre Brossard, a Second World War former criminal, condemned to death in absentia by French courts and further charged with the murder fourteen Jews at Dombey, a town in Alpes-Maritimes, in 1944. This information is written in a sheet of paper that R., that is David Tanenbaum, has to leave on the body of Brossard after killing him, for people to know the truth. The paper is ‘The Statement‘. The assassin fails to do his job and he’s killed by Brossard.

Commissaire Vionnet is the retired flic (French slang name of a member of the police) who was in charge of the investigations after the war in order to find out former war criminals. Brossard was arrested and questioned by Vionnet. After collaborating with the police giving names, Brossard is set free as a prize. Rosa is the former sexy secretary of Vionnet.

CHAPTER TWO

(1) Are these sentences TRUE (T) or FALSE (F)?

1. T lives at 6 Rue Thomas d’Aquin. (F)
2. T is Brossard’s friend. (F)
3. Janine knew that something dangerous would happen to T. (F)
4. T is Michael Levy. (T)
5. T had to go to Aix in search for an assassin. (T)

(2) Discuss the answers with your partner.

The street address given in 1 is the place where T. alias Michael Levy (both cover names again), a new assassin hired to kill Brossard, has to interview with a mysterious old man to get his false Canadian passport (with the name Levy) and directions to do his job. He has to travel to Aix where Brossard is known to be at the moment.

T is the son of an Algerian pie noir who fought against breakaway Algerian nationalist in the Algeria Independence War and was given the chance of go to France after the war was lost and over. He has a girlfriend call Janine. She doesn’t know what T. does. When he calls her to tell her he’s not going to be at home for some time because –he lies– his father has gone ill, she says she knew something was going to happen because she’d read it in his horoscope in the newspaper.

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