STEPHANIA by Ilona Karmel


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A searching study of illness -- if a cheerless one- in which the three patients in room number Five, Ward Two, in the Institute for the Handicapped in Stockholm provide a bitter and realistic indictment of society- without the congested symbolism of Thomas Mann's Magir Mountain The three bedridden protagonists are Stephania who has become a hunchback through a spine injury, sixteen year old Thura who is a polio case- completely paralyzed but for the use of her right arm, and Froken Nilsson whose fractured leg will not heal. In a rather muscular prose, the author manages to convey the personal tragedy of handicapped lives which widens its circle of compassion through Stephania, an embittered Jewess, who had been victimized in the ghettoes of Poland and concentration camps. She is put into a cast in the hope that her crooked back can be sufficiently straightened so that it is operable- but the treatment is a failure..... The deep monotone of suffering here restricts the possible audience- over and above those who like to talk about other people's operations.

Pub Date: Jan. 6th, 1952
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin