CHANGE OF LOVE by Vivienne Koch


Email this review


This is an inconsequential novel which assumes more importance than is its due. Set in the present day in Salzburg Change of Love, a first novel, deals with the events which take place during a seminar of American Studies, held in an ancient Austrian castle, conducted by American teachers and attended by European students. The protagonist, Siegfried Volk, is an English professor, novelist and critic, recently divorced, supposedly worldly, whose Fulbright labors have, in the main, been devoted to the exhibition of his sexual prowess. And yet for all the sophistication of his fashionable literary and political views he proves to be incredibly naive in dealing with the intrigue which abounds in Salzburg and with the many ladies who insist on throwing themselves at him. Actually for the month's duration of the seminar there seems to be very little time devoted to pursuits of an academic nature, aside from some Jamesian comments about the American in Europe: an Italian passport is stolen by a beautiful Yugoslavian girl; there is the mysterious death of a disturbed young man involved with a neo-Nazi; and a State Department investigation exposes embezzlement within the Institute. From the beginning everyone feels obliged to confide in Volk. He is warned of impending difficulties by the Institute's embittered, departing secretary, hurled into a brief but tempestuous affair with the wife of a Yugoslavian official and becomes, unwillingly, the protector of a distraught American girl hell-bent on destroying herself. In the end he is a changed man and finds that the person who was most real to him was the woman he lost. Vivienne Koch is an apt observer, knowledgeable and perceptive but the truths she dispenses in Change of Love are sociological, psychologically coated and might just as well be overheard at a special kind of New York party.

Pub Date: May 20th, 1960
Publisher: McDowell, Obolensky