REFUGEE by Anne Rose


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Unlike other European Jewish heroines of recent WW II reminders, Elke, at twelve, got out of Belgium before she could realize what was happening, and her parents--who, being bom elsewhere, weren't allowed to accompany her to the US--escaped to Brazil just days before the Nazi invasion. Thus, most of this concerns Elke's problems of adjustment to life in New York, where she lives with an uncle and unsympathetic aunt--and later with her own old-world parents who join her after she has become a young American woman of ""almost seventeen."" Her experience of the war is secondhand--through her parents who have lost relatives, and through resistance fighter Charles (unlikely as it seems, he had formed some sort of romantic attachment to the twelve-year-old Elke) who informs her of her two old girlfriends' fates: one becomes a prostitute to feed her family and one dies a heroine organizing sufferers in a concentration camp. If these contrasting adaptations seem a bit stereotyped, the whole is similarly limited--torn, as no doubt Anne/Elke was herself, between the shallow girlishness of her New York adolescence and her overemotive reflections on ""the enormity of this sorrow and grief."" Rose's evident autobiographical sources give the story some strength and authenticity, but it's a considerably diluted experience compared to (most recently) Koehn's Mischling, Second Degree (p. 1151, J-299).

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 1977
Publisher: Dial