Carmen Callil

Bad Faith, the haunting tale of the French Eichmann, Louis Darquier de Pellepoix was triggered by Carmen Callill’s discovery that her therapist was his abandoned daughter.
TG: How long after the death of Darquier’s daughter did you begin to write the book?
CC: Twenty-eight years later–I began my research in 1998.

TG: Why did it take so long to write or publish?
CC: I had a full-time and demanding job until 1995…I was a book publisher in charge of the publishing house Chatto & Windus and also chair of Virago Press, so I had no time.

If you mean why did it take me eight years to research and write it, well the research took me a long time and I knew almost nothing when I started. I had to research in France, Australia, Spain, Belgium and Germany. All that took time and many byways falsely explored!!!

Then French is not my native tongue and although I can speak and write and read it I am not brilliant in any area and doing all of the research in other languages took time.

And finally, I wrote the book in two-three years. All that said, I am an obsessive, inasmuch as all book publishers have to be–too much attention to detail-but now I’m glad I did because it’s a difficult subject and I had to get it right You can’t fiddle around with generalities with a subject like this.

TG: Did you have difficulties gaining access to French archives?

CC: No,none. They have rules to protect private individuals but I was not denied access to anything except for one file at Nanterre. I think it was because I wasn’t an academic but an academic with access got me the papers.

TG: And finally, how did the writing of this book change you?
CC: I don’t feel I changed at all. I know I should but I don’t. That is a complicated question that I can’t answer!