IN A PIG'S EAR by Paul Bryers


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 The liberation of Berlin is relived--and the Nazi menace stirs again--when a powerfully idealistic American filmmaker returns to his German roots, hoping to make the world a better place. Britisher Bryers (Coming First, 1988, etc.) brings both past and present to life with equal intelligence and skill. Adam Epstein has been a Californian since age two, but he was born a German, in Berlin, in the city's ruinous final days in 1945, of a physician mother and doomed aristocratic father named Conrad von Reisenburg. Adam's war-widowed mother marries the American army captain Sam Epstein and follows him to Hollywood, where he's a successful attorney with plenty of connections--so that baby Adam's future in the movies has all but begun. Flash forward to 1968, put the handsome Adam Epstein in Prague for a student political conference, involve him with the passionate Magda--and then separate the two when Adam escapes across the border from the invading Russians but Magda doesn't. Thus is the scene set for a drama that picks up 20 years later with German reunification--when the now world-famous Adam returns to claim his aristocratic heritage (it includes, even, a real castle), intending, though, only to help and heal and celebrate the new Germany--not just by making yet another fairy-talesuccess movie about the nation but by creating a historical museum, a hostel, an immigration center, new film studios. And so what's to worry? How is the past going to rise up and smite Adam's hopes? And what will the deaths of Goebbels and Hitler, resurging neo-Nazi attacks on immigrants--or that student conference back in '68--have to do with any of it? All this--and more--will be narrated by the intelligent, droll, ex-psychoanalyst Milan Kubanicek, closest of Adam's friends--and holder of an extraordinary secret of his own. Intelligent history mixed into a high complexity of entertainment--and made riveting--by a master hand.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-374-17564-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1996