IN PRAISE OF FRITZI by Jack Siegel

IN PRAISE OF FRITZI

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A personal remembrance from an embittered widower. Siegel first met Fritzi, an Austrian coloratura soprano several years his senior, in 1937 when he was teaching English to foreigners. Almost immediately they became inseparable, marrying after living together for several years, enduring periodic hardships as her singing prospects dwindled and his efforts at writing were rebuffed. They moved around often, transferring their bargain ""whorehouse furniture"" from one small place to another, but eventually offers came his way and they prospered. Their loving relationship is the core of Siegel's first chapters but the bland memories which absorb him never really hook the reader, and her subsequent bout with cancer at age 65 (the second half of the book) is a Love Story interrupted by angry denunciations of the medical personnel who treated--or mistreated--her. One blanches at the feints and evasions they suffered but this vengeful diatribe shows his unrelieved rage more than anything else. As he becomes engrossed in itemizing contradictory diagnoses, unreturned telephone calls, and examples of inadequate care, one loses both sympathy and interest. Now he takes sullen pride in being inconsolable. Fritzi may have cared for him but it's hard to share her feeling.

Pub Date: June 29th, 1977
Publisher: Horizon