SEVEN HOUSES: My Life with Books by Bettina Hurlimann

SEVEN HOUSES: My Life with Books

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the tradition of polite memoirs Hurlimann, whose parents (divorced) were both publishers in Germany and who, herself, studied printing before marrying a Swiss publisher and establishing a world-renowned juvenile line for his company, recalls the dear and famous people who have visited her various homes. Famous they were: Bertolt Brecht was ""one of my father's writers,"" Mies van der Rohe and Kurt Schwitters were among Mother's pals; later in Zurich the Hurlimanns were host to Benjamin Britten, Stravinski, Oskar Kokoshka; her charity work there during World War II ""brought me into contact with some interesting people"" including Karl Barth and a niece of Albert Schweitzer; and more recently, reflecting her international status as publisher, collector, and writer in the field, ""fifty experts in children's books"" met there at an IBBY conference. But there are no anecdotes or revelations among the memories, just a listing of names with expressions of pleasure in the ""harmonious and stimulating atmosphere"" that has always surrounded her, However, those who haven't experienced her no doubt delightful hospitality will find it hard to discern a magnet for creative geniuses in a writer so bland and genteel. (Painting watercolors, for example, ""opened my eyes to the beauties of nature and art""; as for early reading experiences, ""I devoured The Bridge of San Luis Rey and was enthralled."") This, then, is a bouquet for old friends, of very limited interest elsewhere.

Pub Date: June 22nd, 1977
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell