Resistance by Owen Sheers is based on the premise that D-Day failed and that Germany invaded Great Britain. The author, a poet, grew up in the area where the story takes place and this shows in the writing. It is highly descriptive and quite beautiful, weaving the history of the land, a valley on the Welsh border, with the lives of it’s people. It is also a description of an occupation and the consequences of war.
There are many ways that people can resist, and Sheers layers his well-written, lyrical novel with several of them. This is a story of people under siege, and of their responses to occupation. It is also a story of the invaders, at least a small group of them and their protective commanding officer.
Resistance follows the lives of a group of women left by the men of their village. They are left to cope with their farms and their livestock alone. The men have gone to join the “resistance”, without a word to their wives and loved ones. How can the women cope? We hear from Sarah, a women of 26, who has been deserted by her husband without understanding why. She and the others are joined by a group of German soldiers sent on a mission that is never really explained until close to the end of the story. Overcoming their initial resistance, the women accept help from the soldiers and they all struggle through a difficult winter, cut off from the rest of the world. Come spring, when the world invades their valley, there are choices to be made, and the consequences of those choices. Sheers does not take the easy way out and the results, for me, where unexpected but satisfying.