Kirkus Star


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Beautifully written (and ably translated from the German by Claire Trask), this restrained, poignantly moving story of two generations of racial conflict deserves perhaps the biggest market Bruno Frank has yet achieved. It is a story of a mother and a daughter, -- Recha, Polish Jewess, whose sanity is shaken by in her early youth, and who is brought back to some measure of happiness in a brief and glorious union with a young Viennese officer; and Elizabeth, posthumous child of their union, carrying the burden of her mixed blood in a community where the ghetto is still a factor, where poverty outside the ghetto is unforgivable, in a period just before the Nazi conquest. The story spans two wars; Elizabeth's father dies, presumably of a Cossack bullet, in one war; her lovely and sad mother, her adored Aunt Chana, and her devoted servant Piotr, in the other war. It is a story not so much of incident as of states of mind, points of view. Anti-Semitism runs as a bloody thread through the tale, but it is not a story of horror, rather is it a psychological study of changing mood, of inner as well as outer conflict, a story of the middle ground, rather than the extremes. Very definitely a book that will not sell itself, but that deserves personal attention.

Pub Date: Oct. 18th, 1943
Publisher: Viking