by Winfried Weiss ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 15, 1983
I was Aryan to the bone. Long before my father's pushy sperm conquered my mother's floating egg to make me, he filled out a long official chart on creamy-white paper. . .the rough draft for the original which was sent off to the center for racial purity in Munich."" So begins memoirist Weiss (a longtime US resident, now teaching in California), whose account of his first eight years, 1937-1945, is often evocative and occasionally arresting--despite some pretentious imagery and excessive self-dramatizing. Son of a Bavarian policeman, coddled only-son Winfried grew up with no doubts about the greatness and destined triumph of the Reich: portraits of Nazi leaders on the wall; overheard stories and jokes (""Jews were connected with toilets, urination, and defecation""); adoration of swastiska-wearing father. (""He is complete, he is powerful, he is male!"") But little Winfried, who found constant connections between the world-at-large and his tiny personal world (seeing geography in his bowel movements, for example), would soon see and feel bumps in the bright, perfect Aryan landscape. His father was forced to take reluctant, ashamed charge of a brutal roundup of local Jews. The threat of bombs became everyday talk, with children's war games and lining up for gas-masks. Then father was sent to the Russian front, never to return; the bombs started falling constantly; word of invading Russians and Americans spread; Winfried turned to his mother obsessively. (""It was natural that my ties to my mother-past were stronger than those to my father. After all, his part of me had been distilled like spirits from bis body and expelled by him into my mother who took in the homeless sperm-me, and engulfed me with my egg-self, poured herself over me,"" etc., etc.) And finally the ""miraculous"" Americans do arrive--including one G.I. named Ray who, in the murky final chapters, holds Winfried spellbound even after apparently raping him. Despite the uncertain fadeout and the tedious egg/sperm/feces verbiage: a specific childs'eye account of the small-town German shift from complacency circa 1940 to doubt and despair through 1945.
Pub Date: Oct. 15, 1983
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1983
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