GRETA by Maurice Mallin


Email this review


Greta is a mixture of opulent portraits, high and low comedies, and tragedies, composed of family recollections of several generations and the particular memories of a young girl who grew up during the years just preceding and during the Vienna of World War II. Now somewhat unwillingly she is ""picking through the fossilized remains of a discontinued age."" Dominating all is a grandfather who ""like the Church was made to suffer and be glorious,"" who raged at the Czech takeover of his Austria and bemoaned his unworthy heirs--particularly dull Uncle Hannes, loving to all things except his father. Then there was her own indulgent Vati who apologetically adored her: Mutti who more stringently demanded beauty, goodness and truth from her ugly, lying duckling; and Greta herself with her valiant attempts to come to terms with an ""all thumbs"" God and her own contrary nature. The novel, descriptive rather than narrative, proceeds by scenes: sudden deaths with unintentional comedy in attendance; the coming of the Russians with Greta and Mutti helped by a colossal Nazi colonel; and Grandfather's mighty deception of the Czech border guards. . . . A girl's coming of age in one that has ended--an involving entertainment given a taste for extravagance.

Pub Date: July 14th, 1969
Publisher: Delacorte