A TRIP INTO THE BLUE by Richard Berczeller


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Ten more autobiographical stories by the author of Displaced Doctor--graceful sidelights from his life as Austro-Hungarian schoolboy, Austrian med student, peripatetic refugee from Nazism, and well-settled U.S. transplant. Most surprising: ""Sodom and Gomorrah,"" Berczeller's recollection of his tense, hectic double-life in the early 1920s--a Vienna med student lured (first by financial necessity, then by stardust) into a secret simultaneous career as an actor in silent films directed by charismatic Michael Kertesz (later, as M. Curtiz, famous for Casablanca). Most affecting: ""The Revanche""--World War I for a little Jewish boy in a lively Austro-Hungarian garrison city, caught between the pro-German battle cries of his beloved baker uncle and the grim, increasingly accurate prophecies of his socialist organizer father. Most O. Henry-ish: ""Fellow-American""--U.S. citizen Berczeller's 1950 slay at an Austrian inn, where an obnoxious American couple sneered at the ""refugee"" doctor. . . till the woman contracted typhoid fever, and only Dr. B. could save her. The other stories are rather less substantial--medical anecdotes, ironies delicate and otherwise (Berczeller's son's quest for a red bicycle as they fled from the Nazis through France), Berczeller's ambivalent feelings when returning to his hometown for a 1965 high-school reunion. But all of them slide into view with effortless specificity and only the most restrained nostalgia or bitterness: reaching back and forward through a lifetime gravely, jauntily--a low-key and artfully artless little packet of memories.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1980
Publisher: A & W