"In January 1917, five wounded French soldiers, hands bound before them, are brought to the front at Picardy by their own troops, forced to climb from the trenches onto the narrow strip of no-man's-land that separates the French and German armies, and left to die in the cross fire. Their brutal punishment has been hushed up for over two years when Mathilde Donnay, a young, wheelchair-bound woman from a small town in the South, begins a relentless quest to find out whether her fiance, officially "killed in the line of duty," might still be alive."--BOOK JACKET. "As the fiercely independent and wonderfully imaginative Mathilde combs the country for information about the other four soldiers - a farmer from the Dordogne, a street hustler from Marseilles, a Parisian trade unionist, and a carpenter - an elaborate web of deception and coincidence emerges. Struggling against all reason and counsel, Mathilde carries her search to its end, and in discovering what happened to the five men, she comes also to an understanding of the horrors, and the acts of kindness, brought about by war."--BOOK JACKET. "A runaway bestseller in France and the winner of the 1991 Prix Interallie, A Very Long Engagement is an engrossing mystery, a playful study of the different ways one story is told, and a moving and incisive portrait of life in France during and after the First World War."--Jacket.