PRIVATE WORLDS by Sarah Gainham


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This is the third and we are assured last layer in the linzertorte which began with Night Falls on the City (1968) and continued with A Place in the Country (1969). There is still a lot of whipped cream which rises to the top partly due to her admiration for her central character, Julia Homburg, and partly by nature of the prose (""a heart-tearing scene. . . pierced their innermost beings""). The first book, BOMC'd and best-selling, was by far the most dramatic, dealing as it did with the war years in Vienna; the second was a slim book by any standards; this has a little more of the gracious and spacious quality of the first in tone if not in content. In fact, now in 1951, with Julia remarried to old friend-of-the-family George Kerenyi, a domineering sort, earlier ardor has ceded to mature compromise; and there will be further concessions in the convergence of the past they all endured and the present they share, particularly in regard to the return of General Tenius, who personified not only the destruction of Warsaw but also their own annals of persecution. Should he be brought to judgment? One will never know since in the single spurt of drama, Tenius' escape from a hospital and shooting of a co-patient, he escapes somewhere. Thus the roman fleuve flows on, ebbs you might also say since there is a great deal of talking, or rather conversing, returning always to the Vienna that was -- the implications are that the city will remain at this point in past time. It is all told in the susurrant fashion Miss Gainham's audience has liked. And will again.

Pub Date: July 19th, 1971
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston