IN THE KAISER'S CLUTCH by Kathleen Karr

IN THE KAISER'S CLUTCH

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Karr (The Cave, 1994, etc.) chooses the silent film studios during WW I as a backdrop for twin adolescent film stars Fitzhugh and Nelly Dalton's discovery of a ring of German sympathizers. Although their father's suspicious death in the explosion of a munitions dump has forced the twins and their mother to move out of Manhattan, things are looking up for the scrappy family. Fitzhugh and Nelly will star in a new film serial, In the Kaiser's Clutch, written and sold to the studio by their mother. The twins eventually uncover their leading man as the brains behind a secret German bomb factory. By juxtaposing plot summaries of each serial installment at the opening of every chapter and then describing all the hard work that goes into the segments, Karr accurately recreates the early film industry, and those who can give themselves up wholeheartedly to some of the campier aspects of this will have a ball. The plot is stuffed with cornball jokes, wooden dialogue, and clich‚d happy family scenes; the German characters are reduced to thick-accented, shifty-eyed, bravado-spouting villains, and the novel ultimately becomes as jingoistic as the fictional serial at its core.

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 1995
Page count: 182pp
Publisher: "Farrar, Straus & Giroux"